Spies History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Spies came to England with the ancestors of the Spies family in the Norman Conquest in 1066. The surname Spies is for a grocer which was in turn derived from the Old French word espice, of the same meaning. [1] [2]

"What we now call a grocer, because, inter alia, he deals in figs (grossi), the French call an epicier, or spicer, because he sells spices." [3]

Early Origins of the Spies family

The surname Spies was first found in Devon where conjecturally the Spicers were under tenants of the Count of Mortain at the time of the Norman Conquest. Benedict le Spicer was listed in the Rotuli de Oblatis et Finibus, at the time of King John. [4]

Some of the first entries in early rolls for the family include: William le Espicer in the Pipe Rolls for Kent in 1184; Bertram le Specier in the Pipe Rolls for Hampshire and in the Assize Rolls for Somerset in 1201; and Hugo le Especer in the Curia Regis Rolls for Cambridge in 1214. [5]

Later, the singular form of the name appeared: William Spice in the Feet of Fines for Suffolk in 1326; and Clement Spice in the Feet of Fines for Cambridgeshire in 1399. [5]

A search of the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 revealed: Simon le Spicere, Cambridgeshire; William le Spicere, Oxfordshire; and William Speciar, Lincolnshire. Up in the north of England, the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 show the name as both a trade name and a surname: Adam Spisar, spicer; and Giliaum Spyser, 1379. [6]

Continuing our quest north into Scotland, the name had the same meaning "spicer, dealer in spices," and two early entries, both as a result of the invasion of King Edward I of England: "Rauf le Spicer rendered homage, 1296, and Eustace Lespicer and Martin Lespicer rendered homage at Berwick, 1291." [7]

Early History of the Spies family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Spies research. Another 95 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1273, 1296, 1804, 1743, 1804, 1743, 1765, 1783, 1773, 1774, 1777, 1792 and 1804 are included under the topic Early Spies History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Spies Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. When the Normans became the ruling people of England in the 11th century, they introduced a new language into a society where the main languages of Old and later Middle English had no definite spelling rules. These languages were more often spoken than written, so they blended freely with one another. Contributing to this mixing of tongues was the fact that medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, ensuring that a person's name would appear differently in nearly every document in which it was recorded. The name has been spelled Spicer, Spicers, Spice and others.

Early Notables of the Spies family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Henry Spicer (1743?-1804), English miniature-painter, born at Reepham, Norfolk, about 1743, and became a pupil of Gervase Spencer. He worked both on ivory and in enamel, and was one of the ablest miniaturists of the period. He was a member of the Incorporated Society of Artists, and exhibited with them from 1765 to 1783; in 1773 he was secretary to the society. He exhibited for the first time at the Royal Academy in 1774...
Another 82 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Spies Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Spies Ranking

In the United States, the name Spies is the 8,239th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [8]

Ireland Migration of the Spies family to Ireland

Some of the Spies family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Spies migration to the United States +

For many English families, the political and religious disarray that plagued their homeland made the frontiers of the New World an attractive prospect. Thousands migrated, aboard cramped disease-ridden ships. They arrived sick, poor, and hungry, but were welcomed in many cases with far greater opportunity than at home in England. Many of these hardy settlers went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Among early immigrants bearing the name Spies or a variant listed above were:

Spies Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Peter Spies, who landed in New York in 1709-1710 [9]
  • Werner Spies, who landed in New York in 1709 [9]
  • Ulrich Spies, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1734 [9]
  • Johann Jacob Spies, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1734 [9]
  • Thebus Spies, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1748 [9]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Spies Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Jacob Spies, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1803 [9]
  • P Spies, aged 49, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1804 [9]
  • Siegmund Spies, who arrived in St Clair County, Illinois in 1851 [9]
  • Philipp Spies, aged 36, who landed in New York in 1854 [9]
  • Jak Wilh Spies, who arrived in America in 1854 [9]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Spies (post 1700) +

  • Tom Spies, American Democratic Party politician, Democratic-Farmer-Labor Candidate for Minnesota State House of Representatives District 40-B, 1994 [10]
  • James A. Spies, American politician, Member of Michigan State House of Representatives from Menominee County; Defeated, 1930; Elected 1940; Defeated, 1942; Mayor of Menominee, Michigan, 1955-56 [10]
  • George Spies Jr., American politician, Candidate for Connecticut State House of Representatives from Bristol, 1912 [10]
  • Frank S. Spies, American politician, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan, 1974-77 [10]
  • Augustus Spies, American Republican politician, Mayor of Menominee, Michigan; Elected 1906, 1908 [10]


  1. ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  2. ^ Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. Print
  3. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  4. ^ Barber, Henry, British Family Names London: Elliot Stock, 62 Paternoster Row, 1894. Print.
  5. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  6. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  7. ^ 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)
  8. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  9. ^ 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)
  10. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 11) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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