Show ContentsSpeirs History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Speirs 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 Speirs family

The surname Speirs 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, England, 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 Speirs family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Speirs research. Another 77 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1417, 1475, 1664, 1626, 1807, 1869, 1807, 1846, 1884 and are included under the topic Early Speirs History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Speirs 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 Speirs family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family at this time was Thomas Speir of Edinburgh, a merchant, 1626. Alexander Spiers (1807-1869), the English lexicographer, was born at Gosport in Hampshire in 1807. He studied in England, in Germany, and in Paris and graduated doctor of philosophy at Leipzig. For fourteen...
Another 46 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Speirs Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Speirs Ranking

In the United States, the name Speirs is the 15,657th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [5]

Ireland Migration of the Speirs family to Ireland

Some of the Speirs 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 Speirs migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Speirs Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Elizabeth Speirs, who settled in Virginia in 1774
Speirs Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Mrs. John Speirs, who arrived in New York, NY in 1811 [6]

New Zealand Speirs 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:

Speirs Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. William Speirs, Scottish settler travelling from Glasgow aboard the ship "Robert Henderson" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 3rd September 1860 [7]
  • Miss Margaret Speirs, Scottish settler from Ayr travelling from Leith aboard the ship 'Melbourne' arriving in Port Chalmers, Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 18th March 1861 [8]

Contemporary Notables of the name Speirs (post 1700) +

  • Archibald Alexander Speirs (1840-1868), Scottish Liberal politician, Member of Parliament for Renfrewshire (1865-1868)
  • William MacLeod Speirs (1952-2009), Scottish trade union leader, General Secretary of the Scottish Trades Union Congress
  • Alexander Speirs (d. 1844), Scottish politician, Lord Lieutenant of Renfrewshire (1838–1844)
  • Walter Gardner Speirs (b. 1963), Scottish former footballer and manager
  • Lieutenant Colonel Ronald C. Speirs (1920-2007), Scottish-born, United States Army officer who served in the 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment and 101st Airborne Division during World War II
  • James Hamilton "Jimmy" Speirs (1886-1917), Scottish footballer who scored the winning goal in the 1911 FA Cup Final, recipient of the Military Medal during the First World War
  • Mrs. Anne Robson Speirs B.E.M., British History Curator for Bute Museum, was appointed Medallist of the British Empire Medal 29th December 2018 for services to Education and to Historic Heritage on the Isle of Bute [9]
  • Camilla Speirs, Irish equestrian at the 2012 Summer Olympics
  • Rosalind "Ros" Speirs (b. 1951), retired Australian Logie Award winning film and television actress, known for her roles in Silent Number, Heidi and the miniseries Power Without Glory
  • Annie Coupe Speirs (1889-1926), British gold medalist freestyle swimmer at the 1912 Summer Olympics
  • ... (Another 1 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

  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. ^
  6. ^ 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)
  7. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from
  8. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from
  9. ^ "Birthday and New Year Honours Lists (1940 to 2019)." Issue 62507, 28 December 2018 | London Gazette, The Gazette, Dec. 2018, on Facebook