The origins of the Maris surname and variants
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To the best of our knowledge, no-one has yet traced a family bearing the Maris surname any further back than the advent of Church of England parish registers in the 16th century. There is a school of thought that the Maris surname shares common roots with some Marsh families and descends from the Norman de Marisco family..

The DNA Project

The goal is to build up a database of Marsh family Y-DNA profiles to assist Marshes world wide to trace their ancestral roots, and also locate possible long lost branches of their families. The Project is intended for any male with the surname of Marsh, or variant spellings and has been extended to include the Maris and Marris surnames. Persons of the latter surnames are also invited to participate in the project and two have already done so.

The profiles now displayed on the site for members of the Cambridgeshire Maris family, the Worcestershire Maris family and a member of the Marris family display a greater than expected degree of variance and have not provided any evidence to support the hypothesis regarding common descent from the de Marisco family. The Marsh DNA Project Web Site explains the project in detail and has a wealth of background information about the use of DNA in genealogy, the origins of the Marsh surname and Coats of Arms.

If you are interested in participating in the study, or have any questions, please the Project Group Administrator.

The Cambridgeshire Maris families

John's male line descends from John Mayris who died in Great Shelford in 1601/2. It is believed that every Maris in Cambridgeshire descended from this individual, but little is known about him or his son John Mayris who was baptized in Great Shelford in 1577.

The Worcestershire Maris families

George Maris was born 1632 in Inkberrow, Worcestershire and emigrated with his family to Pennsylvania in 1683 following persecution in England for failure to conform to the customs of the established church. His father George Maris was born 1596 in Grafton Flyford, Worcestershire and his mother Alice Collier was born Abt 1600 in Ombersley, Worcestershire. It is possible that his grandfather was Richard Maris who was born in Grafton Flyford Abt 1540.

The Maris Genealogy Home Page maintained by Raymond L Maris contains links to his databases containing details of over 150,000 descendants of George and Alice Maris - including a number of world famous individuals.

It has been suggested that descendants of the Norman family of de Merk/de Merce who held Merke manor at Dunmow, Essex were ancestors of both the Cambridgeshire and Worcestershire Maris families, but this is as yet unproven. Indeed, a recent comparison of DNA profiles of descendants of the Worcestershire and Cambridgeshire families suggests that they do not share common ancestry.

The Marris surname

Marris Coat of Arms

This spelling variation occurs particularly in Lincolnshire. A pedigree is known to exist linking a branch of the Marris family to the Mariscos and, according to that pedigree, the Marisco family were previously known as De Merc (Merk or Merck). This would support the hypothesis that Maris and Marris families have common ancestry. Once again, a comparison of Y-DNA profiles suggests no common ancestry.

The Coat of Arms reproduced at left (by kind permission of Philip Marris) appears in the 1952 Burke's Landed Gentry together with the pedigree of Harold Colquhoun Marris OBE (1883 - 1966).

Page last modified: 9 February 2022