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Blazons & Genealogy Notes

1) (Foree, co. Caithness). Motto—Sans peur. Gu. three mullets or, within a bordure wary of the last. Crest—A cat saliant ppr.
2) (Lord Duffus). Motto—Butt sicker. Gu. a boar's head erased betw. three mullets, two and one, and aa many crosses crosslet fitchee, one and two or. Crest—A stag’s head ppr. collared or. Supporters—A talbot ar. collared gu. and a horse ar.
3) (Kinstearie, co. Nairn). Motto—Still without fear. As Lord Duffus within a bordure or. Crest—A cat saliant ppr.

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

Sutherland Origin:


Origins of Sutherland:

The surname of Sutherland has a locational element to its origin. This means that it was often taken by the Lord or owner of the land from which the name derives. Others who may have take a locational surname are people who have migrated out of the area to seek out work. The easiest way to identify someone who was a stranger at that time was by the name of their birthplace. In the case of the surname of Sutherland, it originates from a county named Sutherland. The surname itself comes from the Old Norse word of “suthroen” which can be translated to mean “southern” and the addition of the word “land.”


More common variations are: Sutherlan, Southerland, Suthrland, Suttherlandd, Sutterland, Stherland, Sutheerland, Sautherland, Siutherland, Suther Land, Sutherlandd, Sutherloand



The first recorded spelling of the surname of Sutherland can be found in the country of Scotland. One person by the name of Davie de Sothirlandae was named in the Register of the Holy Trinity Monastery, which is located in Scone, Scotland. The mention occurred in the year of 1332, under the reign of one King David II of Scotland, who ruled from the year 1329 to the year of 1371. Other mentions of the surname of Sutherland can also be found within the country of Scotland. One person by the name of Nicolas of Sothyrland was named as having a land charter, which he received from his brother, who was the Earl of Sothyrland in the year of 1360, while in the year of 1364, one person by the name of Maurice de Sotherland, another brother of the Earl of Sothyrland, and who was allowed to travel to England during war. Other mentions of the surname of Sutherland include one Alexander Sutherland, who was the vicar of Westray, Scotland, in the year of 1441. In the year of 1770 in the month of May, one person by the name of Forbes Sutherland, who was a sailor from the county of Aberdeenshire, was the first Briton to be buried on Australian soil.

United States of America:

During the 1600’s, many European citizens migrated to the United States of America in search of a better life. The United States promised a freedom from religious persecution, better living conditions, and the ability to own land. This large movement of people was referred to as The European Migration. The first person to arrive in the United States who bore the surname of Sutherland did not arrive until the year of 1736. This could be because of the poor living conditions on the transport vessels from Europe to the United States. These vessels were often overcrowded, and people on board were riddled with diseases. Those who did make it to the New World often arrived sick, emaciated, and starving. The first person to arrive in the United States who bore the surname of Sutherland was one Joseph Sutherland, who landed in the state of Connecticut in the year of 1736. Shortly after him, in the year of 1738, one Anna Sutherland arrived in the state of New York.


Here is the population distribution of the last name Sutherland: United States 35,782; Canada 13,847; England 12,847; Australia 9,466; South Africa 9,369; Scotland 8,867; New Zealand 4,537; Jamaica 3,445; Cambodia 1,368; Ghana 1,198

Notable People:

Thomas Sutherland (1931-2016) who served as the Scottish Dean of Agriculture and the University of Beirut in Lebanon, and who was kidnapped and then released after being held captive for 2353 days

Roderick Dhu Sutherland (1862-1915) who served as a Representative from the state of Nebraska in the 5th District from the year 1897 to the year 1901, and who was a politician from America

Solomon Sutherland, who was a Member of the New York State Assembly from Dutchess County from the year 1795 to the year 1796, and who served as a Member of the New York State Assembly in the Middle District from the year 1800 to the year 1803, and who was a politician from America

Thomas Sutherland, who served as the Village President of Fort Gratiot, in the state of Michigan in the year of 1883

Vervie Pontious Sutherland (born in 1882) who served as he U.S. Consular Agent in Nueva Gerona from the year 1910 to the year 1916

W. A. Sutherland, who was a Delegate to the Republican National Convention from the state of California in the year of 1920, and who was a Republican politician from America

Sutherland Coat of Arms Meaning

The two main devices (symbols) in the Sutherland blazon are the mullet and boar’s head. The two main tinctures (colors) are azure and gules.

The bright, strong blue color in Heraldry is known in English as azure, and similarly in other European languages – azul in Spanish, azurro in Italian and azur in French. The word has its roots in the Arabic word lazura, also the source of the name of the precious stone lapis lazuli 1. Despite this, those heralds who liked to associate colours with jewels chose instead to describe blue as Sapphire. According to Wade, the use of this colour symbolises “Loyalty and Truth” 2.

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.3. The word gules is thought to come from the Arabic gule, or “red rose” 4. Later writers associated it with the precious stone ruby and the metal iron 5, perhaps because of the red glow of iron in the heat of the blacksmith’s forge.

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” 6. 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 7. 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” 8.

In the middle ages, the wild boar, a far more fearsome creature than its domesticated relative, the pig was a much more commonly seen animal than today. It was also known as a sanglier. 9 It can appear in many of the same poses that we see for the lion, but has its own (easily imagined!) position known as enraged! 10 We should not be surprised then that this “fierce combatant” is said to be associated with the warrior. 11

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Matthew Southerland commented on 02-Jul-2018
You didn’t really explain the cat at the top. Also, many Sutherland coat of arms depict a man on each side with a club in hand. I’m curious to know more.
Dana Hiffman commented on 14-Feb-2018
There was a family in southern Iowa which spelled their name "Sutherlin". I wonder if this spelling was simply a variation of Sutherland or Southerland? This family had several children. Their boys were bpnamed Earl and Max., nothing deceased. The rest of the famioiy's whereabouts are unknown. I believe there was at least one daughter.
Patrice Caraway commented on 31-Jan-2018
There were Sutherlands (Southerlands) who owned land by 1709 in New York. Married to the widow of Patrick MacGregorie who had come over with their children and settled near Orange County in 1684. They had originally landed in Virginia after a hurricane blew them off coarse, but made their way north There is question on whether William came with this group or soon after, but he settled near by. His oldest son David married MacGregors daughter and when MacGregors wife died, she gave the land to David and his wife after having fought with Patrick Jr over the property. There were two more Sutherland lines that may possibly be related to William, or another William Sutherland of Scotland at that time. One son also says he may have had a Mary and John Sutherland from New York. William Sutherland Jrs son also named David, was a colonel in the Revolutionary war and most of the three brother's male children served at some level in the Revolutionary War. I believe it was Colonel Davids line that married into the other David's line, proposing the likelihood of the two families were related. Solomon was one of their decendents. The originals mostly settled in New York, New Jersey and Virginia. Most that went to Virgina settled at what became Sutherland Falls where marble was being mined. Later they began spreading out.


  • 1 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Azure
  • 2 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36
  • 3 The Siege of Carlaverock, N. Harris, Nichols & Son, London, 1828, P180
  • 4 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 313
  • 5 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
  • 6 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 97
  • 7 A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, P107
  • 8 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P105
  • 9 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 72
  • 10 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Boar
  • 11 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P67