Show ContentsSun History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Sun surname was a Norman habitation name, derived from when families lived at St. Clai-sur-Elle in La Manche and in St-Clair-L'Evêque in Calvados, Normandy where the site of the seignorial castle is still discernible. [1]

Early Origins of the Sun family

The surname Sun was first found in the barony of Roslyn, Midlothian where King Alexander I of Scotland granted a parcel of land to William de Sancto Claro in 1162. They were originally from St Clare, Pont d'Eveque, Normandy, and are descended from Walderness Compte de Saint Clare who arrived in England with William the Conqueror.

"Wace mentions the Sire de St. Clair at Hastings. This was Richard de St. Clair who held lands, Suffolk, 1086, [2]" [3] The Domesday Book also notes that Britel de St. Clair, brother of the aforementioned Richard de St. Clair held lands in Somerset. Britel's son William de St. Clair held lands in Dorset in 1130.

Despite these early records in England, the name is more often than not associated with Scotland. For it is there that the name excelled both in numbers and power. "The first Sinclairs in Scotland appear to have been vassals of the great territorial magnates, de Morville. Their first possession in Scotland was the barony of Roslin, near Edinburgh, which they held in the reign of David I (1124-1153). The earliest bearers of the name appear in charters connected with the abbeys of Dryburgh and Newbattle, the Hospital of Soltre (now Soutra in Midlothian), the church of Glasgow, etc." [4]

Sir Henry Sinclair fought with King Robert the Bruce at Bannockburn, and helped assure the independence of the Scottish Kingdom. Sir Henry's son married Isabel, the heiress of the earldom of Orkney, and their son became the senior Earl of Norway. The Clan achieved great status having married into both Norwegian and Scottish royalty.

Back in England, the name prospered as well as The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 confirms: John de Sanet Claro in Suffolk; Robert de Sancto Claro in Somerset; and William de Sancto Claro in Kent. [5]

Over in Somerset, from the first listing above, Richard Seinteclere and William Seyncler were both listed in Kirby's Quest. [6]

Early History of the Sun family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Sun research. Another 189 words (14 lines of text) covering the years 1470, 1455, 1607, 1345, 1400, 1696, 1582, 1566, 1643, 1566, 1576, 1566, 1610, 1676, 1683, 1750 and are included under the topic Early Sun History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Sun Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Sinclair, Saint Clare, Sancto Claro, Singular, Sinclaire, Seincler, Sanclar, Sincklair, Sinclear, Sincler and many more.

Early Notables of the Sun family (pre 1700)

Notable among the family at this time was Henry I Sinclair, Earl of Orkney, Baron of Roslin (c. 1345-1400), Scottish and a Norwegian nobleman; Prince of Orkney, 3rd Earl of Orkney; and George Sinclair or Sinclar (d. 1696), a Scottish mathematician, engineer and demonologist, the first Professor of Mathematics, Glasgow, probably a native of East Lothian. Other notables include: George Sinclair fourth Earl of Caithness (d. 1582), second, but eldest surviving, son of John, third Earl of Caithness; and George Sinclair, fifth Earl...
Another 82 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Sun Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Sun World Ranking

In the United States, the name Sun is the 4,349th most popular surname with an estimated 7,461 people with that name. [7] However, in Canada, the name Sun is ranked the 547th most popular surname with an estimated 8,943 people with that name. [8] And in Australia, the name Sun is the 797th popular surname with an estimated 4,921 people with that name. [9] New Zealand ranks Sun as 787th with 926 people. [10]

Ireland Migration of the Sun family to Ireland

Some of the Sun family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 59 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 Sun migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Sun Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John C Sun, who arrived in Charleston, South Carolina in 1813 [11]

Contemporary Notables of the name Sun (post 1700) +

  • Xiaoguang Sun, American Democratic Party politician, Presidential Elector for California, 2012 [12]
  • Prof. Tong Sun O.B.E., British Professor of Sensor Engineering for City University of London, was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire on 8th June 2018, for services to Engineering [13]
  • Rainbow Sun Francks (b. 1979), Canadian actor and singer, known for his role as Lt. Aiden Ford in the television show Stargate Atlantis, son of Don Francks
  • Hong Sun Huot, Cambodian Minister of Health and Chairman of the National AIDS Authority
  • Sun Wenyan (b. 1989), Chinese competitor in synchronised swimming. She won a silver medal in team competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics. At the 2016 Olympics, she won another silver in the team competition, and a silver in the duet event
  • Doctor Sun Yat Sen (b. 1903), British artist

  1. Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 3 of 3
  2. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  3. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  4. 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)
  5. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  6. Dickinson, F.H., Kirby's Quest for Somerset of 16th of Edward the 3rd London: Harrison and Sons, Printers in Ordinary to Her Majesty, St, Martin's Lane, 1889. Print.
  7. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  8. "Surnames Meanings, Origins & Distribution Maps - Forebears." Forebears,
  9. "Most Common Last Names in Australia." Forebears,
  10. "Most Common Last Names in New Zealand." Forebears,
  11. 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)
  12. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, December 8) . Retrieved from
  13. "Birthday and New Year Honours Lists (1940 to 2019)." Issue 62507, 28 December 2018 | London Gazette, The Gazette, Dec. 2018, on Facebook