What's In a Name?
In this section we hope that you will add your family name or that of another known to you, what you know of it and who you might know that shares it. You can do this by building your own web page or making a comment below. If you need help with this, you can send us a forum message, or ask by using a comment and we can provide this.
The Ancient History of the Distinguished Surname SHIELD.
The dark rolling moors of the Scotish/English borders are home to this notable surname SHIELD. This ancient history is closely woven into the rich and beautiful tapestry of the border chronicles.
In depth research amongst some of the most ancient manuscripts such as the Exchequer Rolls of Scotland, the Inquisitio, the Ragman Rolls, the Domesday Book, baptismals, parish records, tax records and cantularies, researchers found the first recod of the name Shield in Berwickshire where they had settled from ancient times.
The name Shield occurred in many references, and from time to time, the surname was spelt Shiel, Shiell, Shiels, Shiells, Sheills, Shield, Shields, O'Shiel, O'Shield and these changes in spelling frequently occurred within the families name. Scribes and `chuch officials spelt the name as it sounded, and frequently the spelling changed even the person's own lifetime.
The family name Shield or any of these many derivatives is believed to be descened originally from the Boernicians. This ancient founding race of the north was a mixture of Scotiosh Picts and Angles, a race dating from about the year AD 400. By 1000 AD this race had formed into discernible clans and families, perhaps some of the first evidence of the family structure in Britain. From this area we get some of the most impressive names in history, surnames with unique nicknames such as the Sturdy Armstrongs, one of whom was, appropriately, the first to step on the moon, the Gallant Grahams, the Saucy Scotts, the Angry Kerrs, the Bells, the Nixons, the famous Dicksons, the bold Rutherfords, the Pudding Somervilles, and most of the names ending in 'son.
From these fighting clans of the border the family name SHIELD was found mainly in Berwickshire. This distinguished clan took their name from the reivers, small houses or huts which abounded on the east side of the English/Scotish borders. Burns included the line "the swallow jinking around my shiel". The first on record was Thomas in 1274 at Traqueys, followed by Wiliam Shelle of the county of Edinburgh who rendered homage for the clan to King Edward the first of England on his brief conquest of Scotland in 1296. He was followed by Simon Schele who was dean of the guilds in Edinburgh in 1403. The clan lands were known as West Sheill but they also held lands in the brony of Glasgow and Andrewe Sheill was the tenant in 1515. They also held territories and Roxburghshire and Peebles. Archibald Sheills represented Peelbes in the final Scotish Parliament of 1702 to 1707. They also had interests in Northumberland on the other side of the border, and Catherine, the heiress of Samuel Shields, who married Wiliams Pawson, High Sheriff of Northumerland in 1783. The family later branched south to Uppingham in Rutland.
The clans or families to the north of the border became Scotish after the year 1000 AD and to the South they became English. Nevertheless despite the border, many would still be united clans but strongly local to the defence of their respective countries, a strange tradition amongst this family. Clan feuds became so intense that in 1246, 6 from the Scotish side and 6 from the English side met at Carlisle and created a set of laws for all the border territory. These were unlike any laws prevailing in either Scotland or England or anywhere else in the world. For refusal fo assistance when called a person could be hanged on the instant, without a trial. When clans were on a 'hot trot' to recover, for example, stolen property (a not uncomon occurrence) they were protected from almost all eventualities by their own laws. From this the expression 'hot to trot'
In 1603, the crowns of Scotland and England unified under James VI of Scotland who found it expedient to dispense with the unruly border clans; they were dispersed to England, Northern Scotland and to Ireland. Some were banished directly to the colonies.
In Ireland they were sometimes granted lands previously held by the Catholic Irish. They signd an undertaking to remain protestant ansd faithful to the crown. In Ireland the family settled in Ulster, where their name became O'Shiel and O'Shields, some of whom were herediary physicians located in Doneghal. The famly held Castle Burg in Galway and Drawad in county Tyrone.
The new world beckoned many of the Scotish/Irish settlers in Ireland as they became known when they became further disenchanted with injustice and poverty. They sailed aboard the armada of sailing ships known as "white sails" which plied the stormy Atlantic. Some called these, less romatically, the 'coffin ships' But those that did make it across the ocean eventually established themselves in America. Included in these, Archibald Shields who led the first Virginian settlement and also held estates in Jamaica. Another Thomas Shield settled in Virginia in 1638 and another, Walter Shield, settled there in 1650. Mary Shields settled in Montserrat in 1685; Elizabeth Shield settled in Boston, Massachusets in 1850. In Newfoundland, Thomas Shiel was a fisherman of St Johns in 1774.
Fair to say however that whereever the family name now occurs anywhere in the world, the origin of the family is the English/Scotish borders. We can add what we know and perhaps correct some of the mistakes that happen now as then with comments and the facts as we know them.
There are at least 8 headstones in St Ives chuchyard, Leadgate, bearing the name Shield and not all of the same family or families living here. Some of these are shown in the Pont Valley Photo Album entitled St Ives Churchyard. There is also another family of Shield's, one of whom is currently a district councillor for Medomley and more Shields of my own family buried in Pelton, Perkinsville and Washington Village graveyards.
We can always add more to whatever we know or correct sometimes long-standing beliefs with fresh facts. You can, if you wish, make a comment below.
More on Shields
And a Very Merry Christmas to you, David!
Here's a little tidbit to share with the Original Contributor about Y-DNA testing:
Two of the Shieldses who match my Shields ancestor first "met" each other through a Dunham surname project. Y-DNA tests show they had a common Dunham ancestor who lived in colonial Massachusetts.This very same Jonathan Dunham is the ancestor of Barack Obama's mother, so they are Barack Obama's distant cousins.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Saturday, December 20, 2008 2:25 AM
Subject: Re: David Shields - Shields history
Hi Laura and thanks for your e-mail. All roads lead to Rome as they say and the address is fine, though you might note that a "Village Forum" message will reach us just as well - and also has the advantage that others see it at the same time, add what they know or correct any mistakes made (to which I am prone through trying to do too much!). We just haven't quite the hang of it yet.
I think DNA-testing ultimately will be key to unlocking several doors, not least the distance back we have to go before finding a single, common ancestor. I might crack a joke here about Adam and Eve but would find no doubt get a "snot-o-gram" from someone, but you know what I mean.
I'm just about to pop over the road here in Leadgate to pass-on your e-mail to the original contributor of the "Shield" family name material. He will be interersted and will no doubt do some broadcasting of his own in our local pub, surrounded by friends and (quite likely) relatives!).
In the meanwhile I will add your message as a comment to the article, as well as sending out this forum message. Thanks by the way for your "nice website" comment. Its rough and ready but I'm more interested in getting folks to communicate more openly to see whether we can help each other to do it better, see better what we share and stop fighting and bickering quite as much.
The family name article just struck me as being quite a good exemplar and another half-chance to get past words, doing things for ourselves because we want to, not because we have to. Have a nice day as we folks like to think you folks always say and keep in touch. - And Have a Nice Christmas.
Saturday, 20 December, 2008 2:45:06 AMSubject:
David Shields - Shields history
I'm not sure if this is your direct email, but I figure some kind soul will direct it to you if it isn't.
As you can see I share the surname Shields and enjoyed your "What's in a name" article. If you are interested, there is a Shields Y-DNA study in process at Family Tree DNA. You would be very welcome to participate.
I sponsored a relative in this study who is test # 23916. We found several previously unknown Shields relatives, but none of us gotten past our immigrants to find our common ancestor somewhere in the British Isles.
I have collected a lot of information about various Shields families in colonial and early America. As the project continues, I think DNA will be a helpful tool in untangling some of these families.
Just thought I'd drop you a line. Nice website!
Michigan City, Indiana USA
Todd - Specifically the Todd Family of Leadgate
As of a few days ago, we are now working with a lady now living in Suffolk. Her family hail from Leadgate and in fact are the same Todds that cropped up during our research on Clifton House. There are as few background e-mails in the forum archives and already we are learning more, not through the website, but through direct conversation - the website is simply the mechanism for colating what we learn up here to pass to the lady down there in Suffolk and, if folks want to communicate openly. for working around using the comment facility.
I spoke at length today to a lady who cellebrated here 95th birthday last week. She was born in what was No 550 Garden Terrace (when she told a friend this at her birthday party, she was not believed!). She has the proof of course on her birth certificate but how often do we rush to find our birth certificate to prove a point? Suffice that there are still surviving photographs held by other members of her family showing her, as a child, in front of her house door, clearly showing the number as 550. Like many of the surviving houses in Leadgate, the house numbers and indeed original names have changed many times in the last century and even before. These houses I think were once known as Quarry Street and the people that effectively build Leadgate had no imagination. For example, how unimaginative, but entirely practical to call Streets First, Second and Third Streets Pont or Bradley, and leave us contemporary residents the task of navigating to the correct Street let alone the exact house?
In the case of the Todd family,, there is currently some confusion as to where exactly in Front Street the Todds once lived and whether they had separate premises for their business. The numbers mentioned are Nos 20 and 22 but whether they bear any relation to the current house numbering is debatable and can only likely be proved by conversations of the sort we had earlier today. St Ives Rd has suffered in exactly the same way in the past. What is No 17 St Ives Rd i.e Clifton House, was not 17 then and, if Front Street was treated in the same way as St Ives Rd (highly likely) some houses were demolished, especially in the 1960-80s and others merged into single dwellings. Remember that in earlier times, St Ives Rd had numerous "Alley" houses and between what was the toll road and the railway line which paralleled it houses were build in the availabel space. Such was the way of things back then and I know that Leadgate Local History Society has many photographs of how things looked back then. The houses were very basic, usually made of random stone and if you were unfortunate, perhaps your house was the closest to the middens and in due course fell into disuse, perhaps because of this,and eventually abondanoned and demolished.
There is evidence of this tendancy immediately behind Khans in the vicinity of where the Todds once lived and worked. In addition, we will put together a sort of street map from the lady we met today and post it to this webpage. More as we have it...........
Created on 19/08/2007 02:41 PM by dshields
Updated on 31/08/2010 08:36 PM by dshields