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About the study
'Of all possible words from which the English name Sterry may have originated, perhaps the best two candidates are (1) the Middle English word 'sterre' meaning 'star' or celestial body ... and (2) the Anglo-Saxon word 'stor,' sometimes spelled 'steor,' meaning 'large' ... common practice of adding '-y' to words making them into personal names, having the effect of 'son of'.' (W. B. Smith, 'The Sterry Family of America 1670-1970,' Israel, 1973)
The earliest STERRYs to establish a clear family line were undoubtedly the Sterrys from the Forest of Dean area of Gloucestershire.
The spelling of the surname in the Forest of Dean area in the sixteenth century had several variants including Stirrie, Stirri, Sterrie, Sterry, Sterri and Stirry. However, only the form Sterry and a 19th century variant Sterrey survive into modern times.
Apparently quite unrelated to the Gloucestershire/Herefordshire Sterrys is the early Lowestoft, Suffolk line.
There was also a significant early Sterry presence in Devon and Cornwall but no link has been made to other Sterry lines to date. Sadly, by the mid-1600s, Sterrys had all but disappeared from both Devon and Cornwell and the line may have died out.
There are scattered examples of Sterry-like names in other counties of England in the sixteenth century, especially in Shropshire, but none of these produced Sterry family lines as far as we know.
Historical occurrences of the name
#A George Sterry went to Barbados in 1635
#In 1649 Rev Peter Sterry was chaplain to Oliver Cromwell
#A Captain Sterry, commander of the Fairfax, seized a Merchant ship from Amsterdam near Gibralter in 1658.
#American Thomas Sterry Hunt (1826-1892) was a prolific author and published some 300 scientific articles and many books, including 'Chemical and Geological Surveys', 'The Domain of Physiology' and 'A New Basis for Chemistry'
#Sir Wasey Sterry (1866-1955) was the son of the Rev. Francis Sterry, who is considered as the greatest English Sterry genealogist. He became a barrister of Lincoln's Inn in 1892 and continued as an attorney or jurist the rest of his life. In 1901 he entered the British Colonial Service and was assigned to the Sudan to serve as judge in the courts. He was acting Governor-General of Sudan in 1923, 1924 and 1925.
#In 1921 Arthur William Sterry produced the 'first' motion picture in Australia. For the first time in Australia! When 'The Man They Could Not Hang' was first screened in Sydney, Haldane & Sterry, dramatic actor orators, related the story while the silent film was being screened.
Distribution of the name
Civil Registration Indexes (UK) 1837-1992
Census (UK) 1841-1901
PCC Wills and National Probate Calendars (UK)
Monumental Inscriptions (UK)
Parish Registers (UK)
Diaries and Trade Directories (UK)
Poll Books & Electoral Records (UK)
Taxation Records (UK)
Criminal Records (UK)
Parish Records (UK)
Court Records (UK)
Property Records (UK)
Trades & Businesses Records (UK)
Shipping Records (UK)
BDM Indexes (Australia)
Shipping Records (Australia)
Civil and Church BMD Records (USA)
BMD Records (Canada)
Shipping and Migration (Canada)
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