Spear History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms 

The Spear surname comes from the Old English word "spere," meaning "spear." It may have originally been a nickname for a tall skinny person, or perhaps for a hunter skilled at using the spear. Alternatively, the could have been used for a "watchman or lookout man." [1] [2] [3]

Another source notes: "Spere, to ask, to inquire; a word used formerly in Scotland and the north of Ireland." [4]

Early Origins of the Spear family

The surname Spear was first found in Renfrewshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Rinn Friù), a historic county of Scotland, today encompassing the Council Areas of Renfrew, East Renfrewshire, and Iverclyde, in the Strathclyde region of southwestern Scotland.

Further to the south in Yorkshire, the first record of the family was found in the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 when Robertas Spyer was listed there at that time. [2]

By the 16th century, Richard Spyre was listed as attending Oxford University in 1515; and George Speris was listed in Stirling, Scotland in 1548.

Important Dates for the Spear family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Spear research. Another 77 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1417, 1475, 1664, 1626 and are included under the topic Early Spear History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Spear Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Speir, Spier, Spears, Speirs, Spiers, Speer, Speers, Spere, Speres, Spire, Spires, Speyer, Speier, Speery and many more.

Early Notables of the Spear family (pre 1700)

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

Migration of the Spear family to Ireland

Some of the Spear family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 57 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Spear migration to the United States

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Spear Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • George Spear, who landed in Dorchester, Massachusetts in 1644 [5]
  • Stephen Spear who settled in Virginia in 1685
Spear Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Robert Spear, who landed in New England in 1735 [5]
  • Philip Spear, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1761 [5]
  • Leonard Spear, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1763 [5]
  • James Spear, who landed in South Carolina in 1772 [5]
Spear Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John Spear, who arrived in Washington County, Pennsylvania in 1803 [5]
  • Mr. Spear, who arrived in Mobile, Ala in 1822 [5]
  • Mrs. C Spear, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850 [5]
  • J Spear, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850 [5]
  • G Spear, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Spear migration to Canada

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Spear Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. John Spear U.E., (Spiers) (b. 1747) born in Georgia, USA who settled in Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1784 he died in 1820 [6]

Spear migration to Australia

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Spear Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • John Spear, aged 28, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Isabella Watson" in 1845 [7]
  • Jemima Spear, aged 20, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Isabella Watson" in 1845 [7]
  • Samuel Spear, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "David Malcolm" in 1847 [8]
  • William Spear, aged 24, who arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Neptune" [9]
  • William Spear, aged 31, a miner, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Standard" [10]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Spear migration to New Zealand

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Spear Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Henry Spear, Cornish settler travelling from Launceston aboard the ship "Spray" arriving in New Zealand in 1851 [11]
  • Elizabeth J. Spear, aged 23, a servant, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Queen of Nations" in 1874
  • Mr. Benjamin J. S. Spear, (b. 1854), aged 21, Cornish wheelwright departing on 12th October 1875 aboard the ship "Caroline" going to Westland (Westland District), New Zealand arriving in port on 31st January 1876 [12]
  • Mr. Frederick Spear, (b. 1866), aged 17, Cornish labourer departing in 1883 aboard the ship "Caroline" going to Bluff or Otago, New Zealand arriving in port on 25th May 1883 [12]
  • Mr. Gregory Spear, (b. 1866), aged 17, Cornish labourer departing on 27th October 1883 aboard the ship "Victory" going to Bluff or Otago, New Zealand arriving in port on 23rd December 1883 [12]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Spear (post 1700)

  • Richard E. Spear (b. 1940), American art historian and professor
  • Lawrence York Spear (1870-1950), American naval officer and businessman
  • Laurinda Hope Spear FAIA, ASLA, LEED AP (b. 1950), American architect and landscape architect, one of the founders of Arquitectonica
  • Joseph Spear (d. 1837), British commander in the Royal Navy who served during the American War of Independence, and the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars
  • Frank M. Spear (b. 1953), American founder and Director of Spear Education
  • Bob Spear (1920-2014), American naturalist, birdwatcher and master woodcarver, founding director of the Birds of Vermont Museum
  • Roberta Spear (1948-2003), American poet, awarded a Ingram Merrill Fellowship
  • Harry Spear (1921-2006), American child actor, best known for his roles in the Our Gang short subjects series from 1927 to 1929
  • Ellis Spear (1834-1917), American officer in the 20th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment who rose to the rank of Brevet Brigadier General during the American Civil War
  • Matt Spear (b. 1970), American soccer coach
  • ... (Another 15 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

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Citations

  1. ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York, Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  2. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  3. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  4. ^ Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. Print
  5. ^ 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)
  6. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  7. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The ISABELLA WATSON 1845. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1845IsabellaWatson.htm
  8. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) DAVID MALCOLM 1847. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1847DavidMalcolm.htm
  9. ^ South Australian Register Wednesday 26 October 1853. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Neptune 1853. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/neptune1853.shtml.
  10. ^ South Australian Register Monday 18th December 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Standard 1854. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/standard1854.shtml
  11. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  12. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 2018, April 30). Emigrants to other ports, 1872 - 84 [PDF]. Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/new_zealand_assisted.pdf
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