Sparr History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

In ancient Scotland, the ancestors of the name Sparr lived in the Kingdom of Dalriada. In those days the name Sparr was used to indicate a person who person who carried a sporran, which is the purse worn with the kilt in Highland Scottish dress. The Gaelic form of the surname is Mac-an-sporain, which means son of the purse.

Early Origins of the Sparr family

The surname Sparr was first found in on the Isle of Iona, where they held a family seat from early times and their first records appeared on the early census rolls taken by the early Kings of Scotland to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects.

Early History of the Sparr family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Sparr research. Another 92 words (7 lines of text) covering the year 1745 is included under the topic Early Sparr History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Sparr Spelling Variations

The translation of Gaelic names in the Middle Ages was not a task undertaken with great care. Records from that era show an enormous number of spelling variations, even in names referring to the same person. Over the years Sparr has appeared as MacSporran, MacSparran and others.

Early Notables of the Sparr family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Sparr Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Sparr migration to the United States +

The descendants of the Dalriadan families who made the great crossing of the Atlantic still dot communities along the east coast of the United States and Canada. In the American War of Independence, many of the settlers traveled north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. Clan societies and highland games have allowed Canadian and American families of Scottish descent to recover much of their lost heritage. Investigation of the origins of family names on the North American continent has revealed that early immigrants bearing the name Sparr or a variant listed above include:

Sparr Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Walter Sparr, who landed in Virginia in 1656 [1]
Sparr Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Elsbeth Sparr, who landed in Germantown, Pennsylvania in 1736 [1]
  • George Sparr, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1765 [1]
  • Michael Sparr, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1769 [1]
  • Jacob Sparr, who landed in America in 1772 [1]
Sparr Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • O M Sparr, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850 [1]


The Sparr Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Per mare per terras
Motto Translation: By sea and by land.


  1. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)


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