Wair History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the bearers of the Wair family name are thought have lived in ancient Anglo-Saxon England. They were first found near a dam or weir on a river. Wair is a local surname, which belongs to the category of hereditary surnames. Other types of local surnames include topographic surnames, which could be given to a person who lived beside any physical feature, such as a hill, stream, church or type of tree. Habitation names form the other broad category of surnames that were derived from place-names. They were derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads. Other local names are derived from the names of houses, manors, estates, regions, and entire counties. This surname comes from the Old English words wær and wer, which mean dam, or weir. The surname Wair may also refer to people who came from a place named Ware. A third interpretation of the derivation of this surname comes from the Old English word, war(e), which means wary, or cautious. In this sense, the surname would have been given to someone who was of a cautious disposition. Members of the Wair family settled in Devon, prior to the Norman Conquest of 1066.

Early Origins of the Wair family

The surname Wair was first found in Devon where the first record of the family was Herebertus la Guerre in the Pipe Rolls of 1179. A few years later, John la Werre, la Guerre was listed in the Pipe Rolls of 1187 and 1195 in Gloucestershire. The name was "originally de la werre, de la guerre, 'of the war', a warrior." [1]

"It was formerly prefixed by the particles De la, as in the ancient family De la Warr." [2]

Another source claims the name was Norman in origin: "from Gar or Garde, near Corbeil, Isle of France. Ingelram de Warda occurs in Northamptonshire 1130, and Ralph de Gar in Norfolk, temp. Henry II. In 1296 and 1280 Stephen de Ware and Thomas de Ware are mentioned as holding fiefs [in Norfolk.] From the latter descended the Lords of Tottington, Pickenham and Dudlington." [3]

The Subsidy Rolls of 1327 list Henry atte Warr and the Lancashire Feet of Fines list John la Warre in 1310. [4]

Early History of the Wair family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Wair research. Another 115 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1594, 1666, 1772, 1846, 1798, 1588 and 1632 are included under the topic Early Wair History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Wair Spelling Variations

Until quite recently, the English language has lacked a definite system of spelling rules. Consequently, Anglo-Saxon surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. Changes in Anglo-Saxon names were influenced by the evolution of the English language, as it incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other languages. Although Medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, so it is common to find one person referred to by several different spellings of his surname, even the most literate people varied the spelling of their own names. Variations of the name Wair include Ware, Wares and others.

Early Notables of the Wair family (pre 1700)

Another 37 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Wair Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Wair family to Ireland

Some of the Wair family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 75 words (5 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Wair migration to the United States +

Searching for a better life, many English families migrated to British colonies. Unfortunately, the majority of them traveled under extremely harsh conditions: overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the ocean. For those families that arrived safely, modest prosperity was attainable, and many went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the new colonies. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Wair or a variant listed above:

Wair Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Mich Wair, who arrived in South Carolina in 1755 [5]


  1. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  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. ^ Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. 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)


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