Surname Name Meaning, Origin, and Etymology
This English (and Scandinavian) last name is a locational or topographical surname meaning “the southern”, a person from the south, deriving from the Middle English word sothern, the Old Norse suoroenn, or the Old English suoerne. As such, the name is found primarily in northern Britain and much in the southern part. One source asserts the family first held seat in county Suffolk where they were Lords of the manor of Sotherton.
Common spelling variants or names with similar etymologies include Sotheran, Southerne, Southren, Sothorn, Sothryn, Sotheron, Sothernne, Sutherne, Suthren, Southorn, Sudran, and Sudron.
Popularity & Geographic Distribution
The last name ranks Southern ranks 4,381st in popularity in terms in the United Status as of the 2000 Census, and. The name ranks particularly high in the following six states: North Carolina, West Virginia, Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma, and Mississippi. The name is more common in England where it ranks 1,672nd. It ranks highest in the following five counties: Lancashire, Cheshire, Durham, Northumberland, and Shropshire. The name is common throughout the English speaking world: Scotland (3,417th), Wales (1,854th), Ireland (3,314th), Canada (6,495th), New Zealand (4,101th), Australia (2,680th), and South Africa (6,027th). The 1890 book Homes of Family Names by H.B. Guppy states “Southern is a rare form of the name [Southon] in this county [Kent]”.
Early Bearers of the Surname
The first known bearer of this last name was Geoffrey le Sutherne who was documented in the Assize Court Rolls of Staffordshire in 1243 AD.The Poll Tax of Yorkshire in 1379 AD lists four bearers of this last name: Willemus Sothorn, Willelmus Sotheron, Johannes Sotheron, and Ricardus Sothryn. Early baptisms including this surname include Anne, daughter of John Sothernne, at St. Dionis Backchurch in 1586, Mary Sotherne, daughter of William Southerne at the same church in 1587, and John Southerine at the same church in 1588.
History, Genealogy, and Ancestry
A one Robert Sotheron was born around the year 1360 AD in England. He had a son named John who was born in 1395 AD in Holme-on-Spalding-Moor. He married a woman named Johanna and had issue with her: Isabella (Hawksworth) and Christopher. Christopher Sotheron was born around 1410 AD in the same town. He married a woman named Constance and had a son with her named William. William was born in 1438 and also spelled the name Southeron. He married a woman named Alice and had issue with her: Thomas, Agnes (Millington), Robert Sr., John, Christopher, and others. His son Robert Sr. was born in 1470. He married a woman named Alice and had issue with her including: Beatrix (Wright), William, Thomas, John, and Margaret (Watson). His son John Sothern was born in 1500 and had children: Margaret, Janet, and Alison (Bell).
John Southern was born in Hampshire, England in 1601. He married a woman named Memory Tucker and had a son with her named John. He died in Virginia, United States in 1695. His son John was born in 1641 in Middlesex, Virginia and he married a woman named Catherine, with whom he had the following issue: Lettice, William, Edward, and John. His son Jon was born in 1705 in the same county. He married Margaret Kidd and had numerous children with her: James, John, William, Susanna, Joseph, Benjamin, Samuel James, Averilla, and Margaret. His son Samuel James Southern was born in the same county in 1732. He had two daughters: Lucy (Cogdal) and Rosannah. Samuel died in 1830 in Copiah County, Mississippi.
A one Daniel Southern was born at an unknown date, and in 1592 he married Ann Reyer in Ashby Magna, Leicester. They had the following children: Thomas, Margaret, William, Robert, and Annis. His son Thomas was born in 1594 in the same town. He married Agnis Moxton and had three issue with her: Daniel, Anne, and Thomas. His son Thomas was born in 1627 in the same town and he married a woman named Alice with whom he had two issue: Alice and Thomas. His son Thomas was born in 1661 in the same town and he married a woman named Elizabeth with whom he had three issue: William, Thomas, and Alice (Kilpack).
Early American and New World Settlers
A one John Southern was recorded as living in Virginia in 1623 (at James Cittye), and he came three years earlier aboard the George. A one John Southerne lived in Blunt Pointe and owned 40 acres of land there. Other early colonial Americans bearing this last name include James Southern (Virginia 1635) and Thomas Southern (Virginia 1653).
I have been unable to locate the Southern family motto.
We have 38 coats of arms for the Rodgers surname depicted here. These 38 blazons are from Bernard Burke’s book The General Armory of England, Ireland, and Scotland, which was published in 1848. The bottom of this page contains the blazons, and in many instances contains some historical, geographical, and genealogical about where coat of arms was found and who bore it. People with this last name that had armorial bearing: 1) Sotheron, Frank, Capt., R.N., of Kirklington, co. Nottingham, s. of William, of Darrington, co. York, and to his four sisters. (Match), 26 May 1810, 2) Sotheron, late Bucknall-Estcourt, T. S., of co. York, , and 3) Sotheron-Estcourt, George Thomas John, late Bucknall-Estcourt-Estcourt, of Darrington Hall, co. York, 1899.
Famous people with this last name include: 1) Lauren Cherie Southern(1995) who is a conservative/libertarian activist, commentator, and author from Canada, 2) Sir Richard William Southern (1913-2001) who was an English medieval historian based out of Oxford, 3) Steve Soutern (1982) who was a Australian rugby player nicknamed Bluey, and 4) Jeri Southern (1926-1991) who was an America jazz singer and pianist.