Dexter Family Crest, Coat of Arms and Name History


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Dexter Origin:


Origins of Dexter:

The surname of Dexter is of an occupational origin. This means that the original bearer of the surname of Dexter most likely was a dryer of cloth, meaning that he actually carried out this job. Occupational surnames were not originally hereditary surnames. They only became hereditary if the son followed in his father’s footsteps for a career; then the surname became hereditary and was used by the children and spouse of the son. In the case of the surname of Dexter derives from the Old English Pre 7th Century word of “dighester,” which itself is a derivative of the word of “deag” which can be translated to mean “dye.”


More common variations are: Dexeter, Dextere, Dexcter, Dextor, Texter, Dixter, Daxter, Dextre, Dextra, Duxtra, Dester



The first recorded spelling of the surname of Dexter hails from the country of England. One person by the name of Robert le Dighestre was mentioned in the Somerset County Registers in the year of 1260. This document was ordered, decreed, and written under the reign of one King Henry III, who was known throughout the ages as “The Frenchman.” King Henry III ruled from the year of 1216 to the year 1272. Other mentions of the surname of Dexter within the country of England include one John Dexter and one Ralf Dexter, who were both mentioned in the Friary Rolls of Leicester in the year 1262. One Robert le Digester was mentioned in the Subsidy Rolls of Worcestershire in the year of 1275. Another mention of the surname of Dexter was one William Dexter, who was mentioned in the Assize Rolls of Warwick in the year of 1378. Those who are known to bear the surname of Dexter in the country of England can be found throughout the region in high concentrations. The areas that have a larger population of those who are known by the surname of Dexter are within the counties of Sussex, Worcestershire, and Somerset. There is also a large population of people who bear the surname of Dexter in the areas in and around the city of London.

United States:

Throughout the 1600’s, it became common for European citizens to migrate to the United States of America, which was at that time known as the New World, or the Colonies. These European citizens were in search for a better life for them and their families, and trying to escape the tyrannical rule of their homelands, as well as the poor living conditions in these areas. This large migration of people was known as the European Migration. Among those who migrated to the New World were those who bore the surname of Dexter. The first recorded person to bear the surname of Dexter in the United States of America was one Thomas Dexter, who arrived in the city of Lynn, Massachusetts in the year of 1630. Shortly after he arrived in the country, one Francis Dexter, who was only 13 years old, arrived in the United States aboard the ship named “The Planter” in the year of 1635.

Here is the population distribution of the last name Dexter: United States 12,545; England 3,856; Canada 977; South Africa 913; Philippines 902; Algeria 625; Australia 594; Germany 471; Brazil 318; Mexico 288

Notable People:

Pete Dexter (born in 1943) who was a novelist from America, and who was awarded the U.S. National Book Award for his novel titled Paris Trout in the year of 1988.

Elliot Dexter (1870-1941) who was a film and stage actor from America.

Samuel Dexter (1761-1816) who was a statesman from America who served on the Presidential Cabinet and who also served in Congress.

Al Dexter (1905-1984) who was a country musician and songwriter from America.

Brad Dexter (1917-2002) who was born with the name Boris Malanovich, and who is most notably recognized for his roles in The Magnificent Seven (1960) and Run Silent Run Deep (1958).

Timothy Dexter (1747-1806) who was a merchant and eccentric from America, and who, upon becoming wealthy, changed his name to Lord Timothy Dexter, and built himself a mansion in Newburyport, Massachusetts, and who also wrote A Pickle for the Knowing Ones, or Plain Truth in a Homespun Dress in the year 1802.

John Dexter (1925-1990) who was a two-time Tony Award winning director, who directed opera, theatre, and film.

Norman Colin Dexter OBE (born in 1930) who was a crime writer from England, and who is most notably recognized for his Inspector Morse novels.

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Blazons & Genealogy Notes

1) Ar. two chev. az. a canton gu. Crest—A tree, pendent therefrom two weights.
2) (Reg. Ulster’s Office, 1712). Ar. a cross moline betw. four parroquets vert. Crest—A naked arm embowed holding a scimitar all ppr.

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