Shields / Family History
The ancient origin of the name Shields
was found in the irishsurnames.com archives. Meaning 'of Shields', this is a locational name from the seaport and market-town in County Northumberland. Variants include Shiel, Shiell, Shiels, Shiells, Sheil, Sheils, Shield, Sheal and Sheals. This name is of Anglo-Celtic origin and is popular throughout England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. It is found in many mediaeval manuscripts in the above islands. Examples of such are a Willemus de Scheles, who was recorded in the 'Poll Tax' of the West Riding of Yorkshire in the year 1379, and a William Shields and Martha Sedly who were married in Saint Georges Hanover Square in the year 1736. In Scotland a Thomas of le Schele was a juror on an inquisition made at Traqueyr in the year 1274. In Ireland this name is anglicized from the Gaelic O'Siaghail sept name, meaning 'descendant of Siadhal', a well attested personal name, and very popular throughout the four provinces.
A sept or clan is a collective term describing a group of persons whose immediate ancestors bore a common surname and inhabited the same territory. It is also the case that many Irish septs or clans that are related often belong to a larger groups, sometimes called tribes. For example the 'Tribes of Galway' consisted of fourteen distinct families. The 'Tribes of Kilkenny' were ten families, etc.
family crest (or coat of arms) came into existence many centuries ago. The process of creating these coats of arms began as early as the eleventh century although a form of Proto-Heraldry may have existed in some countries prior to this, including Ireland. The new more formalized art of Heraldry made it possible for families and even individual family members to have their very own family crest, coat of arms, including Shields