Show ContentsWar History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The surname War is of Norman origin. It was introduced into Normandy by Norsemen where it was derived from the Old Norse word "ver" which meant a "station" or "fishing station." After the Norman Conquest, the name was later derived from the Old English word "wær," or "wer," meaning "a weir." In both cases, the name was a topographic name. [1]

Early Origins of the War family

The surname War was first found in Roxburghshire, where they were descended from Aubri de Vere, a descendant of the Duchess Judith in 1058. His son, another Aubri, accompanied William the Conqueror to Hastings in 1066, and built a castle at Hedingham in Essex, and held Kensington in Middlesex.

He was the ancestor of the Earls of Oxford. Although the de Veres were highly respected members of the aristocracy in England, a branch of the family moved northward in 1069 and settled in the lowlands of Scotland at Sprowestun, in Roxburghshire.

Another source provides more detail: "Of Norman origin from one or other of the places named Vere in Calvados, Manche, Eure-et-Loire, and Oise. The word was introduced into Normandy by the Norsemen from their own ver, a station, as in fiskiver, a fishing station, a word etymologically akin to Old English weir, wear, a dam. Ralph or Radulphus de Ver is perhaps the first of the name recorded in Scotland. As Ralph de Ver he was taken prisoner at Alnwick along with William the Lion in 1174. He witnessed a charter by King William "de decimis episcopatus" of Moray between 1174-84." [2]

"The Weirs of Lesmahago, Blackwood, &c., in Lanarkshire, claim descent from the great baronial family of De Vere, having been founded in Scotland by Baltredus de Vere, in the reign of Malcolm IV., about the middle of the twelfth century. From documents quoted in Chambers' Caledonia, it appears that the name Vere, or Weir, was by no means uncommon among the Norman settlers in Scotland, in that century." [3]

Some remained in England as the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 noted: John de la Were, Oxfordshire; and Robert de la Were, Gloucestershire. [1]

Early History of the War family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our War research. Another 172 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1069, 1174, 1296, 1489, 1670, 1694, 1600, 1670, 1670, 1838, 1876, 1662, 1713 and are included under the topic Early War History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

War Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Weir, Vere, Ver and others.

Early Notables of the War family (pre 1700)

Notable among the family at this time was Rebecca Weir, grandmother of Ulysses S. Grant, U.S. President. Thomas Weir (1600?-1670), was a reputed sorcerer, son of a Lanarkshire proprietor in Clydesdale. "Whether influenced by remorse or lunacy, or a combination of the two, Weir, though he never professed any penitence, made a voluntary confession to the authorities of incest, sorcery, and other crimes; and, after trial, on 9 April 1670, during...
Another 70 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early War Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the War family to Ireland

Some of the War family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 115 words (8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States War migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

War Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Thomas War, who landed in Maryland in 1648 [4]

The War Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Vero nihil verius
Motto Translation: Nothing truer than truth.

  1. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  2. 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)
  3. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  4. 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) on Facebook