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Blazons & Genealogy Notes

1) (Sherborn, co. Dorset). Az. a chev. betw. three mullets of six points or. Crest—An eagle’s head couped or, the mouth embrued gu.
2) (cos. Dorset and Durham). Sa. a chev. or, betw. three water bougets erm. Crest—A demi dogfish.

Origin, Meaning, Family History and Meer Coat of Arms and Family Crest

Origins of Meer:
The Meer surname considered acquiring from either the Old English word "mere," which means "pond," or from "maere," which meant "boundary."  In either example, the name was probably Geographic, taken on by a person who resided near one these features.  Spelling variations of this family name include as Meares, Mear, Mears, Meer, Meere and much more.

Variations:
More common variations are: Meyer, Meier, Maeer, Meere, Mewer, Meera, Meuer, Meero, Meeri, Meery.

England:
The surname Meer first appeared in Somerset at Meare, a hamlet, and civil church in the union of Wells, hundred of Glaston-Twelve-Hides, north-west of Glastonbury.  Nearby is Meare Lake Village, the site of an Iron Age settlement.  The Abbot's Fish House was built in the 14th century when Adam of Sodbury was the abbot of Glastonbury Abbey. One of the first recordings of the place name was as Mere, which noted in the Domesday Book of 1086.  The place name means "place at the pool or lake."

United States of America:
Individuals with the surname Meer landed in the United States in two different centuries respectively in the 18th and 19th.  Some of the people with the name Meer who arrived in the United States in the 18th century included John Meer, who naturalized in Philadelphia in the year 1798. The following century saw more Meer surnames arrive.  Some of the people with the surname Meer who arrived in the United States in the 19th century included Thomas Meer, who naturalized in Pennsylvania in the year 1802.  Isaac Van Der Meer and his family, who settled in Iowa in the year 1849.  Ant J Vander Meer, who landed in Iowa in the year 1849.  Dirk Vander Meer, who arrived in Iowa in the year 1849.  Frans Vander Meer who landed in Iowa in the same year 1849.

Australia:
Some of the individuals with the surname Meer who landed in Australia in the 19th century included Mary Meer at the age of 20, a housemaid, arrived in South Australia in the year 1854 aboard the ship "Emerald Isle."  Thomas Meer at the age of 24, a farm laborer, arrived in South Australia in the year 1857 aboard the ship "Navarino."  Catherine Meer at the age of 16, a domestic servant, arrived in South Australia in the year 1858 aboard the ship "Bee."

Meer Coat of Arms Meaning

The four main devices (symbols) in the Meer blazon are the mullet, chevron, water bouget and fish. The three main tinctures (colors) are azure, or and sable .

Azure is the heraldic colour blue, usually quite a deep, dark shade of the colour (there is a lighter blue that sometimes occurs, known as celestial azure). If colour printing is not available then it can be represented by closely spaced horizontal lines in a scheme known as “hatching” 1. The word is thought to originate from the Arabic lazura and it represents the colour of the eastern sky. It is also said to be the colour associated by the Catholic Church with the Virgin Mary and hence of particular significance 2.

The bright yellow colour frequently found in coats of arms is known to heralds as Or, or sometimes simply as Gold.3. Along with, argent, or silver it forms the two “metals” of heraldry – one of the guidelines of heraldic design is that silver objects should not be placed upon gold fields and vice versa 4. The yellow colour is often associated with the Sun, and the zodiacal sign of Leo.5.

Sable, the deep black so often found in Heraldry is believed to named from an animal of the marten family know in the middle ages as a Sabellinœ and noted for its very black fur 6. In engravings, when colors cannot be shown it is represented as closely spaced horizontal and vertical lines, and appropriately is thus the darkest form of hatching, as this method is known 7. Although it may seem a sombre tone, and does indeed sometimes denote grief, it is more commonly said to represent Constancy 8.

The heraldic mullet, not to be confused with the fish of that name, is shown as a regular, five pointed star. This was originally, not an astronomical object, but represented the spur on a horseman’s boot, especially when peirced, with a small circular hole in the centre it represents a type of spur known as a “rowel” 9. A clear example can be found in the arms of Harpendene, argent, a mullet pierced gules. The ancient writer Guillim associated such spurs in gold as belonging to the Knight, and the silver to their esquires 10. In later years, Wade linked this five pointed star with the true celestial object, the estoile and termed it a “falling star”, symbolising a “divine quality bestowed from above” 11.

The chevron is one the major shapes used upon a shield, known as ordinaries. The inverted ‘V’ of the chevron is perhaps thought to have originated to represent a military scarf folded on the shield 12, or additional cross-pieces used to strengthen the shield and painted a different colour.13. It has also acquired the meaning of “Protection… granted… to one who has achieved some notable enterprise” 14, possibly becuase of its resemblance to the roof truss of a house.

A wide variety of inanimate objects 15 appear in coats of arms, so of them still recognisable today, others now rather obscure. The images used are often simplified and stylised, the water bouget is a typical case of the later, such that the casual observer would be hard pressed to discern its function. It represents in fact a yoke with two skins attached to be worn over the shoulder and has been found in coats of arms almost from the beginning of the art. 16. Somewhat literally, Wade suggests that their appearance on arms may have been due to a holder who had “brought water to an army or beseiged place”. 17

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References

  • 1 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 26
  • 2 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P150
  • 3 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 27
  • 4 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P85
  • 5 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
  • 6 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Sable
  • 7 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 26
  • 8 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P35
  • 9 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 97
  • 10 A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, P107
  • 11 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P105
  • 12 A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, (various)
  • 13 The Pursuivant of Arms, J. R. Planche, Hardwicke, London 1859
  • 14 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P45
  • 15 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P281
  • 16 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Water Bouget
  • 17 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P114