Nurse Family Crest, Coat of Arms and Name History


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Nurse Origin:


Origins of Nurse:

This unusual and interesting surname is of Old French source and is a professional name for a wet nurse or cherished mother, acquiring from the Old French “nurice, norrice,” frequently from the Latin “nutrix,” which means sensual “nutricis.” Professional surnames frequently mentioned the real profession of the named ancestor, and after that became inherited. First examples of the surname contain as Matilda Nutrix , Maria le Noreyse (Cambridgeshire, 1273), Alice la Norisse and Agnes le Norice, donated respectively in the Court Rolls of the Borough of Colchester, Essex, dated 1310 to 1337 and Joan Nurys, listed with Magota Nuris in the 1379 census Tax Returns of Yorkshire. Recordings of the surname from London Parish Records consist of the wedding of Margery Nourse to Mathewe Smyth at St. Bride’s, Fleet Street, London, in February 1594, and the naming of Elizabeth, daughter of Peter Nurse, at St. Mary’s, Stoke Newington, in January 1601. An early traveler in the New World was Robert Nurse, recorded as a landowner in St. Michael’s parish, the Barbados, in 1680. A Royal symbol gave to the Nurse family of England is a black shield on a silver saltire, a fleur-de-lis of the first, at the curve being a pair of balances in order, and the Motto of “Justitia,” Justice.


More common variations are: Nursey, Nourse, Nurase, Nursee, Nursse, Nurese, Nurise, Nursae, Naurse.


The surname Nurse first appeared in Leicestershire where they were kings of the castle of Knossington, and where they had been given lands by William, the invader for their help at the conquest of Hastings in 1066 AD.

The very first recording spelling of the family was shown to be that of Roberta La Norice, dated about 1273, in the “Hundred Rolls of Bedfordshire.” It was during the time of King Edward I; who was known to be the “The Hammer of the Scots,” dated 1272-1307. The origin of surnames during this period became a necessity with the introduction of personal taxation. It came to be known as Poll Tax in England. Surnames all over the country began to develop, with unique and shocking spelling variations of the original one.

United States of America:

Individuals with the surname Nurse settled in the United States in three different centuries respectively in the 17th, 18th, and 19th. Some of the individuals with the name Nurse who landed in the United States in the 17th century included Francis Nurse settled in Salem, Massachusetts in 1640. Susanna Nurse arrived in Virginia in 1658. Ann Nurse settled in Barbados in 1660. John Nurse came to Barbados in 1664, and Joseph Nurse came to Virginia in 1667.

People with the surname Nurse who settled in the United States in the 18th century included Peter Nurse arrived in Maryland in 1718. Catherine Nurse settled in Virginia in 1773.

The following century saw more Nurse surnames arrive. Some of the population with the name Nurse who arrived in the United States in the 19th century included Samuel Osburn Nurse landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1827. Samuel Nurse landed in Mississippi in 1892 and George Robert Nurse arrived in Mississippi in 1898


Some of the people with the name Nurse who landed in Canada in the 18th century included Bernard Nurse settled in St. John’s, Newfoundland in 1723. Edward Nurse, who was on record as a fisherman in Petty Harbor, Newfoundland in 1739. Elizabeth Nurse arrived in Nova Scotia in 1760.


Some of the individuals with the surname Nurse who settled in New Zealand in the 19th century included Jane Nurse arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship “Avalanche” in 1858.

Here is the population distribution of the last name Nurse: United States 3,322; England 3,200; Canada 1,197; South Africa 1,078; Barbados 1,008; Philippines 902; Guyana 891; Trinidad and Tobago 858; Saudi Arabia 616; Australia 416.

Notable People:

Sir Paul Maxime Nurse was born in January 1949. He is an English geneticist, an old administrator of the Royal Society and Senior Executive and manager of the Francis Crick Institute.

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Blazons & Genealogy Notes

1) (Scotland). Gu. a fess or, betw. a chev. in chief and a cinquefoil in base ar. a border of the second. Crest—A pair of balances ppr. Motto—Justitia.
2) (cos. Oxford and Gloucester, now Middlesex). Sa. on a saltire ar. a fleur-de-lis of the first.

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