Spears History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Spears 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 Spears family

The surname Spears 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. [3]

Early History of the Spears family

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

Spears 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 Spears family (pre 1700)

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

Ireland Migration of the Spears family to Ireland

Some of the Spears 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.


United States Spears migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Spears Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • James Spears, who landed in America in 1760-1763 [5]
  • James Spears, who settled in New England in 1761
Spears Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Samuel Spears, who landed in America in 1810 [5]
  • William Spears, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1824 [5]
  • Alexander Spears, who landed in Somerset County, Pennsylvania in 1838 [5]
  • Allen Spears, who arrived in Somerset County, Pennsylvania in 1838 [5]
  • John Spears, who landed in Arkansas in 1855 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Spears Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • James Spears, aged 47, who landed in America from Belfast, Ireland, in 1904
  • James Spears, aged 5, who immigrated to the United States from Lanarkshire, Scotland, in 1910
  • Elizabeth Spears, aged 11, who immigrated to the United States from Lanarkshire, Scotland, in 1910
  • Annie Spears, aged 38, who settled in America from Lanarkshire, Scotland, in 1910
  • Charles Spears, aged 25, who immigrated to the United States from Anfield Plain, England, in 1910
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Spears migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Spears Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. Ebenezer Spears U.E. who settled in St. David, Charlotte County, New Brunswick c. 1784 [6]
Spears Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Miss. Margaret Spears who was emigrating through Grosse Isle Quarantine Station, Quebec aboard the ship "Goliah" departing 21st May 1847 from Liverpool, England; the ship arrived on 18th July 1847 but she died on board [7]
Spears Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century
  • George Spears, aged 23, who immigrated to Halifax, Canada, in 1908
  • Alexander Spears, aged 52, who immigrated to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, in 1910
  • Gladys Spears, aged 24, who settled in Montreal, Canada, in 1920
  • John Spears, aged 39, who immigrated to Toronto, Canada, in 1922
  • Ethel Spears, aged 35, who immigrated to Toronto, Canada, in 1922

Australia Spears migration to Australia +

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

Spears Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John Spears, British Convict who was convicted in Colchester, Essex, England for 14 years, transported aboard the "Asia" on 5th November 1835, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land)1836 [8]
  • Gregory Spears, aged 20, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1851 aboard the ship "Navarino" [9]
  • William Spears, aged 32, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Bucephalus"

New Zealand Spears 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:

Spears Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Spears, who landed in Epsom, Auckland, New Zealand in 1843

Contemporary Notables of the name Spears (post 1700) +

  • Bryan Spears (b. 1977), American film and television producer
  • Lynne Irene Spears (b. 1955), née Bridges, an American author and mother of Bryan Spears, Britney Spears, and Jamie Lynn Spears
  • The Right Reverend Robert Rae Spears Jr. (1918-2008), American Christian clergyman, former Episcopal Bishop of Rochester, New York
  • Jamie Lynn Spears (b. 1991), American actress, singer, and the younger sister of pop singer Britney Spears
  • Marcus Spears (b. 1983), American former NFL football defensive end who played from 2005 to 2013
  • Marcus Spears (b. 1971), American former NFL football offensive tackle who played from 1994 to 2004
  • Warren Spears (1954-2005), American dancer and choreographer
  • Ken Spears (b. 1942), American TV writer and animator
  • Harold L. Spears, American fighter pilot and flying ace in the U.S. Marine Corps, during World War II, credited with 15 aerial victories
  • Tim Spears, English rugby league player for the Featherstone Rovers
  • ... (Another 4 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Arrow Air Flight 1285
  • Mr. James M Spears (b. 1953), American Specialist 4th Class from Costa Mesa, California, USA who died in the crash [10]
HMS Repulse
  • Mr. Patrick James Spears, British Able Bodied Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking, also sailed aboard the HMS Exeter [11]


Suggested Readings for the name Spears +

  • 797 The Families of Ruebsman, Spear, et al by Neil N. Ruebsamen, John E. and Noah Spears in Kentucky, Missouri, Kansas, Texas & Oklahama by L.K. Gillespie.

  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. ^ Charbonneau, André, and Doris Drolet-Dubé. A Register of Deceased Persons at Sea and on Grosse Île in 1847. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, 1997. ISBN: 0-660-198/1-1997E (p. 96)
  8. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 28th January 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/asia/1835
  9. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) NAVARINO 1851. Retrieved http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1851Navarino.htm
  10. ^ American War Memorials - Flight 1285. (Retrieved 2016, August 24) . Retrieved from http://www.uswarmemorials.org/html/monument_details.php?SiteID=317&MemID=550
  11. ^ HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listrepulsecrew.html


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