Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Mercer Name
France, England Scotland
Origins of Name:
The surname Mercer derives directly from a medieval French word, “mercier” or “merchier, meaning a trader, or merchant, which derives from the Latin “mercarius” which derives from the words “merx” and “mercis,” which mean merchandise. Those who bear the surname of Mercer, may have descended directly from a group of merchants or traders. It is believed that this word was first introduced in the late 11th century, by the Normans atfer the Conquest of 1066. In the Middle Ages, these terms were specifically used to describe a trader or merchant who dealt in specialty textiles and fabrics—especially those textiles and fabrics that were deemed to be luxurious, such as silks, satins, and velvets. This surname of Mercer, is a job-based surname that directly is derived from the occupation of the original name bearer, but later became a hereditary surname that was passed on from generation to generation.
More common variations are:
Mercier, Mercera, Mercere, Mercero, Merceur, Merceri, Merceir, Mercery, Merceer, Merecer, Meercer, Mercies, Merchier, Merchiers, Merces
The first recorded spelling of the surname Mercer was in the year 1168. Gamel Mercer was named in the Pipe Rolls of Lincolnshire during the reign of King Henry II, who was known as “The Builder of Churches” and ruled from the year 1154 to the year 1189. During The Great Migration, Robert Mercer and his wife Dorcas Mercer, who was thirty years of age, embarked on the journey to the New World Colonies of America, and became some of the earliest recorded settlers with the surname of Mercer. Robert Mercer and Dorcas Mercer sailed on the ship named the “Assurance” which was bound for the state of Virginia, from London, England in the year 1635, in the month of July. Also in that same year of 1635, Luce Mercer, who was eighteen years of age, sailed from England to New England and settled there.
Early Mercer family lines were merchants of velvets and fine silks. Later they would sell cottons.
The surname occurs in Kent. It is thought that this line of Mercers is a branch of the Flemish line, named Merciers.
In the year 1205, William Mercer was the witness of two separate charters on behalf of the Abbey of Melrose, and Aleumnus Mercer was bound to try to keep the peace between King Alexander II, the King of Scotland, and King Henry III, the King of England in the year 1244.
In France, the Merces family traces their surname back to one family, the family of a man named Thomas Mercer, who in the year 1341 was empowered by King Edward III to get money from the Constable of Bordeaux, so that he could raise troops for battle in Aquitaine, France.
United States 38,845
New Zealand 1,146
South Africa 1,023
Northern Ireland 644
George Barclay “Win” Mercer (1874-1903) who was a pitcher in the MLB (Major League Baseball) and played from the year 1894 to the year 1902, who lived in America
Matthew Mercer (born in 1982) is a screenwriter, film director, and voice actor from America
Frank H. Mercer, who was a Candidate for the Connecticut State House of Representatives from Stratford in the year 1930, and the year 1932, was an American Democratic politician
Gabriela Sacedo Mercer, who was a Candidate for the U.S. Representative from Arizona in the 3rd District in the year 2012, and is an American Republican politician
Frederick O. Mercer, who was a Delegate to the Republican National Convention from Illinois in the year 1994, and an American Republican politician
George Anderson Mercer (1835-1907) who was a Member of the North Carolina State Legislature, and was also a Delegate to the Democratic National Convention from Georgia in the year 1892, was an American Democratic politician
Grady Mercer, who was a Member of the North Carolina State Senate in the 9th District in the year 1959, and was also a County Judge in North Carolina and an American Democratic politician
J. H. Mercer, who was an Alternate Delegate to the Republican National Convention from Kansas in the year 1936, was an American Republican politician
James Mercer (1736-1793) who was a Member of the Virginia State Legislature in the year 1762, and was a Delegate to the Continental Congress from Virginia in the year of 1779, and was the State Court Judge in Virginia in the same year of 1779, was an American politician
James Mercer, who was a Candidate for the Michigan State House of Representatives from Genesee County in the 1st District in the year 1938, was an American politician
Mercer Coat of Arms Meaning
The three main devices (symbols) in the Mercer blazon are the chessrook, marlet and cross pattee. The three main tinctures (colors) are or, gules and sable .
The bright yellow colour frequently found in coats of arms is known to heralds as Or, or sometimes simply as Gold.. 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 . The yellow colour is often associated with the Sun, and the zodiacal sign of Leo..
The bold red colour on a heraldic shield is known as gules. It has a long history within heraldry, it is known that one of those who besieged the scottish castle of Carlaverock in 1300 was the French knight Euremions de la Brette who had as his arms a simple red shield.. The word gules is thought to come from the Arabic gule, or “red rose” . Later writers associated it with the precious stone ruby and the metal iron , perhaps because of the red glow of iron in the heat of the blacksmith’s forge.
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 . 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 . Although it may seem a sombre tone, and does indeed sometimes denote grief, it is more commonly said to represent Constancy .
Although we expect to find fierce creatures and fearsome weapons depicted in a coat of arms this is not always the case – sometimes simple household objects are used . The Chess Rook is a typical example of this and has been used in heraldry almost from the beginning. The word “rook” comes not from the bird but from the Italian word rocca, a “castle” or “tower”.
The martlett is by far the most common bird to appear in British Heraldry, perhaps only equalled by the eagle, however it is not a species ever to be found in an ornithologists handbook! The word itself is though to have come from the French word merlette, the female blackbird and itself a similar type of charge used in French Heraldry. . Over time the image has become quite stylised, without visible legs or distinctive feathers. Wade suggests that this representation arises from “the appearance of the bird of paradise to ancient travellers” . Other bird species may be named in coats of arms (cornish chough is a frequent example) but in actual execution their appearance is often indistinguishable from the martlet.
No other symbol appearing in heraldry is subject to as much variation as the cross . Mediaeval Europe was a deeply religious and Christian and many of the nobility wanted to show their devotion by adopting the symbol of the cross as part of the arms. Since no two arms could be identical there arose many variants of the cross, typically involving patterning along the edges , or fanciful, decorative endings to the arms of the cross . The cross pattee is typical of these, pattee meaning “spreading”, and so the ends of the arms of the cross curve gently outwards to rather pleasing effect.