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Surname Shepard - Meaning and Origin

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Discovering the Shepherd's Tale: Piecing Together Lineage Through iGENEA DNA Test

Delving into the scientific panorama painted by the iGENEA DNA test, I embarked on an intriguing journey into my lineage linked to the surname Shepard. The genetic markers unveiled a complex history interwoven with Vikings' adventures, Medieval English occupational practices, Ashkenazi Jews' resilience, and Indigenous American heritage - each contributing to my unique familial tapestry.

R. Shepard

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Shepard: What does the surname Shepard mean?

The last name Shepard is of Anglo-Saxon origin, derived from the occupation of a 'shepherd.' It is a compound of two Old English words "sceap," meaning sheep and "hierde," meaning herder. Thus, it literally translates to 'sheep herder.' This name would have originally been given to someone who served as a shepherd, tending to sheep for a living. As it is an occupational surname, it would have referenced the person's job, but over time it became passed down through familial lines as a hereditary surname. Additionally, it is sometimes spelled Shepherd or Shephard, and these variants all carry the same meaning. It is fairly common in English-speaking countries, symbolizing the deep agricultural roots of these societies.

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Shepard: Where does the name Shepard come from?

The last name Shepard is most commonly found in English-speaking countries, particularly the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. In the United States, it is the 474th most common surname. It is most predominant in the state of Pennsylvania, where it ranks as the 195th most common last name.

In England, Shepard is the 140th most common surname according to the 2019 survey. It has gain popularity in the past 10 years, according to the Office for National Statistics. In Scotland, Shepard is the 241st most common name, and in Wales, it is the 182nd most common surname. In Canada, it is the 188th most common last name, and in Australia, it is the 308th most popular surname.

The etymology of Shepard pertains to sheep husbandry. The last name literally means `a herd of people who are responsible for the care of sheep`. It is commonly assumed to be of English origin, though there is some evidence it originated from a combination of Old French and Old English words.

The name Shepard can also have Flemish, German, Dutch, and French origins. It is also a Scandinavian last name as well, and the Scandinavian form of Shepard is Skovfoged. Shepard is also one of the most common surnames in countries like Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, and Germany.

It is also one of the oldest recorded last names, with records dating back to the 12th century. It has been recorded in the English court documents from the 13th century, and is also found in the English Pipe Rolls of 1180.

Variations of the surname Shepard

The surname Shepard is derived from the Old English word ‘sceap’ meaning ‘sheep’ and was an occupational name given to a person who tended ovine livestock. It has been spelt in a variety of ways throughout its history including Sheppard, Shepperd, Shepphard, Sheppard, Shepard and Shapard. It is also sometimes seen spelt as Sheiðer or Sheitre, which is an 11th century Norman form of the name.

Variants of the name include Sheapyard, Shepheard, Shephard, Shepheard, Sheppar, Sheppord, Sheppardson, Sheppardson, Shepperdson, Shepardson, Shibard, Shippard, Shippard, Shipparding, Shippeed and Shuppard. There are also a few less common surname variants such as Shephey, Sheppie, Shipley, Shipwright and Shute.

The name is relatively common throughout the English speaking world and is often seen in its various forms. In the United States, there are more than 13,000 people with the Sheppard surname while in England, the most commonly seen form of the name is Shepard. It is also fairly common in Canada, Scotland and Ireland.

In addition to being a surname, the termShepard has found use as a given name or first name as well. This use is more common in the United States than elsewhere and the name is often seen spelt as Shepard or Sheppard in this context.

Famous people with the name Shepard

  • Alan Shepard: the first American to travel into space
  • Sam Shepard: Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and actor
  • Dax Shepard: American actor, writer, director, and podcast host
  • Darren Shepard: award-winning American entrepreneur
  • Taylor Shepard: Emmy Award-winning American journalist
  • Cybill Shepard: American actress and singer
  • Kathleen Shepard: the founder of the Center for Interdisciplinary Learning and Leadership
  • Florence Shepard: a prominent American educator
  • Jared Shepard: American record producer and songwriter
  • Marc Shepard: owner of Shepherd & Co., a consulting firm
  • Sarah Shepard: New York Times Bestselling author
  • Christian Shepard: military historian and author
  • Bill Shepard: former president of The Coca-Cola Company
  • Timothy Shepard: a prominent American church leader
  • Dick Shepard: television news anchor and meteorologist
  • Todd Shepard: a Pulitzer Prize-winning American historian
  • Sarah Michelle Geller Shepard: American film and television actress
  • Jack Shepard: American diplomat and director of the United Nations
  • Simon Shepard: American political analyst and commentator
  • David Shepard: world-renowned film preservationist

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