What is the origin of the last name Herring?

The last name Herring has its origins in Old English, derived from the word "hæring," meaning herring, a type of fish found in European waters. As a surname, Herring likely originated as an occupational name for someone involved in the herring industry, such as a fisherman or a seller of herring. Alternatively, it could have been a nickname for someone associated with the characteristics or habits of a herring, such as swift movement or an affinity for swimming. The prevalence of the name in coastal areas of England further supports its connection to the fishing industry. Over time, variations of the surname emerged, reflecting phonetic changes or regional dialects, making it a diverse and evolving family name.

Countries of origin for the last name Herring

The last name Herring is an English surname, with origins that can be traced back to the Middle Ages. It is derived from the Old English word “hæring,” which means “a herring fish.” This name is a clear example of a surname that originated from an occupation or trade, specifically that of a fisherman or someone involved in the fishing industry.

The Herring surname is primarily found in England, with a concentration in the eastern regions, such as Norfolk, Suffolk, and Essex. These areas have a long history of fishing and maritime activity, which provides context for the prevalence of this surname in these regions.

As with many surnames, variations and spelling variations exist for the name Herring. These variations include Heryng, Herin, Herwyn, and Heringson, among others. These variations can be attributed to factors such as regional dialects, phonetic changes over time, and individual spellings by record-keepers.

Genealogical research shows that individuals with the surname Herring have been documented in various historical records, including parish registers, census records, and land records. These records provide valuable information for tracing family lineages and understanding the movements and settlements of individuals with this surname.

The Herring surname has also been subject to analysis and discussion in the field of onomastics, which is the study of names and their origins. Researchers have explored the linguistic roots of the name, tracing it back to Old English and examining its connections to other words and names in the English language. This type of research helps to shed light on the development and evolution of the Herring surname.

When considering the etymology of the Herring surname, it is important to note that surnames often have multiple origins. While the fish-related occupational origin is the most widely accepted for Herring, there may be other factors and influences that have shaped the name throughout history. Genetic and DNA analysis can provide further insights into the origins and migration patterns of individuals with this surname.

In conclusion, the last name Herring has a clear occupational origin, derived from the Old English word for herring fish. It is associated with the fishing industry and has a concentration in eastern regions of England. Variations of the name exist, and genealogical records provide valuable information for tracing family lineages. The etymology of the name has been subject to analysis in the field of onomastics. While the fish-related occupational origin is the most widely accepted, there may be additional influences that have contributed to the development of the Herring surname. Further research and analysis are necessary to uncover the complete story behind this surname.

Interesting facts about the last name Herring

  • The surname Herring is of English and Scottish origin.
  • It derived from the Old English word “hӕring” or Old Norse word “hӕringr,” both meaning “herring,” suggesting that it may have been a nickname for someone who resembled a herring or a fisherman.
  • The name Herring is fairly common in the United States and the United Kingdom.
  • In 1891, the highest concentration of individuals with the Herring surname in England was in Norfolk, followed by London and Yorkshire.
  • The Herring surname can also be found in other countries such as Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, often due to migration.
  • Notable individuals with the Herring surname include British artist Stanley Herring, American basketball player Antoine Herring, and American politician A. H. Herring.
  • The Herring family motto is “Facta Non Verba,” which translates to “Deeds, Not Words.”
  • The Herring family crest features a hawk displaying wings with a fish in its talons—a clear reference to the surname’s association with herring.
  • There are numerous variations of the Herring surname, including Herrin, Hering, Hareng, Hearring, Heron, and Herren.
  • The Herring surname has been used as a character name in various forms of literature, including novels, plays, and poems.

Name Rank


There are around 38733 people with the last name Herring in the US

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