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Reed Genealogy and Reed Family History Information

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  • Twin boy 2 Reed (1654 - aft.1654)
    Reference: FamilySearch Genealogy - SmartCopy : Feb 5 2021, 15:06:26 UTC
  • Reed (twin boy 1) (1654 - 1654)
    Please don't merge into Twin 2. Please don't merge into Twin 1. * Reference: FamilySearch Genealogy - SmartCopy : Feb 5 2021, 15:06:26 UTC
  • 2nd wife of William Reed (b. - 1790)
    Biography M Person # 37 page 37 William Reed, son of James and Susanna (Richmond) Reed b. May 1, 1685 m. — , Elizabeth , Resided at Middleborough. Of Middleborough. Younger children must belong with ...
  • Abial Crane (1825 - 1908)
    Abial Reed was born in Moriah, Essex Co., New York on Mar. 20. 1825. She married on Mar. 23, 1843 with JAMES H. CRANE, son of Samuel Crane and Katurah Roundy. He was born Jan. 23, 1815 in Washington, N...
  • Abial Reed (1752 - 1833)

About the Reed surname


"Reed" is a variant of the surname "Read", which is commonly believed to be a nickname-derived surname referring to a person's complexion or hair being wikt:ruddy|ruddy or red.

At least one example of the Reed surname, that originating in the County of Northumberland in northern England, is derived from a location, the valley of Redesdale and the River Rede that runs through it.

In the United States, Reed was adopted by some Pennsylvania Dutch (German) families in the 18th century, notably that of John Reed (Johannes Reith), a former Hessian soldier from Raboldshausen, Germany, who made the first documented gold find in the United States in 1799. The Reed Gold Mine is today a State Historic Site in Cabarrus County, North Carolina.

'Reed' appears as a surname most commonly in Anglosphere|English-speaking countries, especially in the United States, where it was the 55<sup>th</sup> most common surname in 1990 accounting for about 0.12% of the population.

In Great Britain, 'Reed' ranked at 158<sup>th</sup> (0.081%) and 183<sup>rd</sup> (0.073%) in 1881 and 1998, respectively, with little or no change in internal distribution among counties during the intervening century.

In Ireland, Reed is among the 100 most common surnames, and in the Irish province of Ulster it is among the 40 most common surnames.

The relative frequencies in 1998 among several countries were United States >> Great Britain > Australia ~ New Zealand ~ Canada >> Northern Ireland >> Ireland.

Reed' has been adopted by several notable actors as their stage surname in preference to their birth names (see #Pseudonyms and aliases, below).

Reeds of Northumberland

The Reeds of Northumberland in England were originally centered around the chief Reed residence at Troughend in Redesdale, on the banks of the River Rede. According to Sir Walter Scott,

:These Reeds of Troughend were a very ancient family, as may be conjectured from their deriving their surname from the river on which they had their mansion. An epitaph on one of their tombs affirms that the family have held their lands of Troughend, which are situated on the Reed nearly opposite to Otterburn, for the incredible space of nine hundred years.

The earliest reference to the Reeds of Troughend is from 1400, when “Thomas Reed of Redysdale” is recorded in county records as paying “to William de Swinburne in the sum of 20 pds...for the ransom of William Moetrop of Tenedale”. In 1429 Thomas Reed is again recorded, as serving on a jury in Elsdon.

In 1442, a John Reed is described as:

"the Laird of Troughwen, the chief of the name of Reed, and divers of his followers...a ruder and more lawless crew there needs not be..."

The Reeds of Northumberland were one of the Border Reiver families of the 16th century, who lived by blackmail and cattle rustling in the Anglo-Scottish border country.

One notable Reed was Percival Reed, believed to have been Laird of Troughend in the 1580s and 1590s. His story has been handed down in The Death of Parcy Reed, a traditional Border ballad (Child Ballad 193). This song tells of an alliance between the Halls of Redesdale and the Crosiers of Liddesdale in Scotland, against the Reeds. Percival Reed held the office of Keeper of Redesdale, and had arrested one Whinton Crosier for raiding in the valley. This put the Reeds at feud with the Crosier family. The Halls, old friends of Percy Reed, turned against him and conspired with the Crosiers to trap him while he was out hunting. When the Crosiers ambushed Percy, the Halls watched as he was murdered. Percy stood alone unarmed against the Crosiers, and according to the ballad:

:They fell upon him all at once,
:They mangled him most cruellie; :The slightest wound might cause his deith, :And they have given him thirty-three: :They hacket off his hands and feet, :And left him lying on the lee.

Percy Reed’s ghost is said to have haunted Redesdale for many years, and "at times he would come gallantly cantering across the moorland as he had done when blood ran warm in his veins. ...And yet, again, he would come as a fluttering, homeless soul, whimpering and formless, with a moaning cry for Justice—Justice—Judgment on him who had by black treachery hurried him unprepared to his end."


  • Frank Graham, Elsdon, Otterburn and Redesdale, Howe Bros.:Newcastle upon Tyne, 1976, pg. 7
  • Bernard Burke, A Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Landed Gentry of Great Britain and Ireland, London, 1863.
  • George MacDonald Fraser, The Steel Bonnets: the Story of the Anglo-Scottish Border Reivers, Harper Collins, London, 1995
  • >Francis James Child, English and Scottish popular ballads; Volume XXVII, Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and company, 1904.
  • John Lang, Stories of the Border Marches, Dodge Publishing Company, New York, 1916, p. 228.

People sharing the Reed surname

There are many notable people who share the Reed surname. These people are listed below to provide a partial geographical and time reference for use of this name. People listed below are presumed to be Caucasian race|caucasian unless otherwise indicated parenthetically; this information is included as ethnicity is an important parameter in name studies. Ethnicities found below include African American and Jewish. Multiple items on a line is indicated by a superscript number associated with country of origin. All information included in the list below has been drawn from the referenced articles without input from other external sources.

;Born after 1300
TOC right

  • Ireland or England (after 1350–1415) Robert Reed (bishop), alternatively spelled "Robert Reade"

;Born after 1700

  • United States (c.1723–1807) James Reed (soldier)
  • United States (1741–1785) Joseph Reed (jurist)<ref name="Reed8">Grandfather and grandson: Joseph 1741 and William 1806</ref>
  • England (1742–1807) Isaac Reed
  • United States (1751–1831) John Reed, Sr.<ref name="Reed1">Father and son, Reed Sr. (1751) and Reed Jr. (1781)</ref>
  • U. (1760–1829) Philip Reed
  • U. (1781–1860) John Reed, Jr.<ref name="Reed1"/>
  • U. (1787–1836) Luman Reed
  • U. (1787–1829) Thomas Buck Reed
  • England (1787–1862) Andrew Reed (clergyman),<ref name="Reed4">Grandfather, father, son: Andrew (1787), Charles (1819), Talbot (1852)</ref> same person as Andrew Reed (Reverend)
  • United States (1793–1883) Edward C. Reed

;Born after 1800

  • United States (1803–1871) Charles Manning Reed
  • United States (1806–1876) William Bradford Reed<ref name="Reed8"/>
  • England (1806–1880) Henry Reed (merchant)
  • United States (1807–1864) Robert Rentoul Reed
  • U. (1809–1887) Isaac Reed (Maine)
  • U. (1813–1899) Harrison Reed
  • England (1817–1888) Thomas German Reed
  • England (1819–1881) Charles Reed (British politician)|Charles Reed<ref name="Reed4"/>
  • United States (1821–1891) Byron Reed
  • England (c.1823–1890) Joseph Reed (architect), emigrated to Australia
  • United States (1827–1888) Elijah W. Reed
  • England (1830–1906) Edward James Reed
  • United States (1830–1895) Simeon Gannett Reed
  • U. (1832–1904) Amanda Reed, 'Reed' being her married name, her maiden name not known
  • U. (1835–1925) Joseph Rea Reed
  • U. (1839–1902) Thomas Brackett Reed
  • U. (1842–1913) P. Booker Reed, moved to Canada late in life
  • U. (1842–1915) Elizabeth Armstrong Reed nee Armstrong (surname)|Armstrong<ref name="Reed2">Mother and daughter, Elizabeth 1842 and Myrtle 1874</ref>
  • U. (1847–1938) David C. Reed
  • U. (1851–1902) Walter Reed
  • England (1852–1893) Talbot Baines Reed<ref name="Reed4"/>
  • United States (1856–1916) John Oren Reed
  • United States (1858–1876) Henry Armstrong Reed
  • Ireland (flourished 1860–1880) Andrew Reed (police inspector)
  • United States (1861–1944) James A. Reed
  • United States (1865–1951) Ida Lilliard Reed
  • U. (1866–1935) Stuart F. Reed
  • U. (1866–1940) Eugene Elliott Reed
  • Ireland (1869–1931) Hamilton Lyster Reed
  • United States (1871–1949) Clyde M. Reed
  • United States (1871–1962) William Maxwell Reed
  • United Kingdom or India (1872–1969) Stanley Reed (UK politician)
  • United States (1874–1911) Myrtle Reed<ref name="Reed2"/>
  • U. (1874–1964) Dorothy Reed Mendenhall nee Reed
  • U. (1875–1959) Daniel A. Reed
  • England (1875–1975) Alfred Hamish Reed, emigrated to New Zealand
  • United States (1880–1953) David A. Reed
  • United States (1881–1935) James B. Reed
  • United Kingdom (1883–????) Lionel Reed
  • United States (1884–1968) Henry Reed (musician)
  • United States (1884–1980) Stanley Forman Reed
  • Canada (1887–1955) Guilford Bevil Reed
  • United States (1887–1920) John Reed (journalist)
  • U. (1887–1959) Theodore Reed
  • U. (1890–1938) Milt Reed
  • U. (1890–1956) Chauncey W. Reed
  • U. (1890–1959) Ted Reed
  • U. (1891–1973) Marshall Russell Reed
  • U. (1892–1978) Daniel Reed (screenwriter)
  • Australia (1892–1970) Geoffrey Reed
  • United States (1894–1989) Vivian Reed (silent film actress)
  • England (1895–1976) Douglas Reed, emigrated to South Africa
  • United States (1899–1978) Robin Reed
  • United States (1899–1989) Philip D. Reed

;Born after 1900

  • Australia (1901–1981) John Reed (art patron)<ref name="Reed6">Husband and wife: John 1901 and Sunday 1905)</ref>
  • United States (1905–1971) Victor Joseph Reed
  • United States (1905–1979) Evelyn Reed
  • Australia (1905–1981) Sunday Reed, nee Baillieu<ref name="Reed6"/>
  • England (1906–1976) Carol Reed, took maternal surname rather than paternal (Tree)<ref name="Reed3">Uncle and nephew, Carol 1906 and Oliver 1938</ref>
  • India<ref>India was under British rule at the time of this person's birth.</ref> (1906–1991) Cyril Reed, emigrated to England
  • United States (1910–1990) Albert Reed, Jr.
  • United States (born 1910) H. Owen Reed
  • England (1914–1986) Henry Reed (poet)
  • United States (1916–2001) Walter Reed (actor)
  • United States (1916–2002) Ola Belle Reed
  • England (born 1916) John Reed (actor)
  • United States (1917–2007) Stanley Foster Reed
  • Ireland (1919–1974) Maxwell Reed
  • United States (1921–2005) Alfred Reed
  • U. (born 1921) John Hathaway Reed (same as John H. Reed)
  • U. (born 1923) Irving S. Reed
  • U. (1925–1976) Jimmy Reed (African American)
  • U. (c.1926–1970) Carol Reed (weather broadcaster)
  • Australia (1927) Ian Reed
  • U. (1927–1990) David E. Reed
  • U. (1927–2002) Barry Reed
  • Wales (1928–2003) Billy Reed
  • United States (born 1932) Whitney Reed
  • U. (1932–1992) Robert Reed
  • U. (born 1933) Jack Reed (baseball)
  • U. (born 1934) Thomas C. Reed
  • England (born 1935) Les Reed
  • Canada (born 1936) Julian Reed
  • United States (1936–1984) Howie Reed
  • United States (born 1936) Hub Reed
  • England (born 1937)<sup>2</sup> Laurance Reed, Terence James Reed
  • United States (born 1937) Jerry Reed
  • United States (1938–1986) Dean Reed, permanently settled in East Germany in 1973
  • England (1938–1999) Oliver Reed<ref name="Reed3"/>, famous English actor, well-known for his starring "tough guy" roles
  • United States (born 1938) Rex Reed
  • U. (born 1938) Ishmael Reed (African American)
  • U. (born 1939)<sup>2</sup> George Reed, John S. Reed
  • Canada (born 1939) Fred A. Reed
  • England (died 1940) Henry Herbert Reed
  • England (born 1942) Tracy Reed (English actress) nee Pelissier
  • United States (born 1942) Willis Reed (African American)
  • U. (born 1942) Lou Reed (Jewish)
  • U. (born 1942)<sup>2</sup> Michael C Reed (mathematician), Ron Reed
  • U. (1943–2003) Ellen Cannon Reed nee Cannon (surname)|Cannon
  • U. (born 1943) Bob Reed
  • United Kingdom (born 1945) David Reed (politician)
  • United States (born 1944)<sup>2</sup> Alvin Reed, Oscar Reed
  • U. (born 1945) Fred Reed
  • U. (born 1947) Francine Reed (African American)
  • U. (born 1948)<sup>2</sup> Chuck Reed, Joe Reed (American football)
  • U. (born 1949) Tracy Reed (American actress) (African American)
  • U. (born 1949)<sup>4</sup> Caitriona Reed, Jack Reed, Pamela Reed, Stephen R. Reed

;Born after 1950

  • United States (born 1950) Rick Reed (umpire),
  • England (born 1952) Les Reed (football coach)
  • United States (born 1952) David P. Reed
  • U. (born 1954)<sup>3</sup> Ann Reed, Butch Reed, Frank Reed
  • U. (born 1955)<sup>3</sup> Jerry Reed (baseball), Kevin Reed, Mark Reed (physicist)
  • U. (born 1955) Preston Reed, emigrated to Scotland
  • U. (born 1956)<sup>2</sup> Robert Reed (author), Shanna Reed
  • U. (born 1958) Alyson Reed
  • U. (born 1960) Doug Reed
  • U. (born 1961) Ralph E. Reed, Jr.
  • U. (born 1961) Donald G. Reed (African American)
  • U. (born 1962)<sup>2</sup> Jeff Reed (baseball), Jody Reed
  • U. (born 1963) Dizzy Reed
  • England (born 1964) Andy Reed
  • United States (born 1964)<sup>3</sup> Andre Reed, Peyton Reed, Rick Reed (pitcher)
  • U. (born 1965) Steve Reed (baseball)
  • U. (born 1967)<sup>2</sup> Jake Reed, Jason Reed
  • U. (born 1967) Rodney Reed (African American)
  • U. (born 1968) Logan Reed
  • U. (born 1969) John Reed (novelist)
  • U. (born 1970) Eric Reed (musician)
  • U. (born 1970) Killah Priest, born "Walter Reed" (African American)
  • U. (born 1971) Kira Reed
  • U. (born 1972) Brett Reed
  • U. (born 1973) Brian Reed
  • U. (born 1973) Tayo Reed (African American)
  • England (born 1973) Jamie Reed
  • United States (born 1974) Tanoai Reed
  • England (born 1975) Adam Reed (footballer)
  • United States (born 1977)<sup>2</sup> Brandy Reed, James Reed
  • U. (born 1978)<sup>3</sup> Dave L. Reed, Ed Reed, Jennie Reed
  • U. (born 1979)<sup>2</sup> Jeff Reed (American football), Natina Reed (African American)
  • Australia (born 1980) Candice Reed
  • United States (born 1980)<sup>2</sup> Eric Reed, Tatum Reed
  • U. (born 1980) Josh Reed (African American)
  • U. (born 1981) Jeremy Reed
  • U. (born 1981) Gary Reed (athlete), emigrated to Canada
  • U. (born 1981) Peter Reed (rower), emigrated to United Kingdom
  • U. (born 1982) J. R. Reed
  • U. (born 1982) Justin Reed (African American)
  • Australia (born 1982) Chad Reed
  • United Kingdom (born 1982) David Reed (comedian)
  • United States (born 1982) Tyler Reed
  • U. (born 1983) Eric Reed (soccer player)
  • U. (born 1984) Kerry Reed
  • England (born 1985) Stephen Reed (footballer)
  • United States (born 1985) Albert Reed
  • England (born 1987) Jamie Reed (footballer)
  • United States (born 1987) Cathy Reed, emigrated to Japan<ref name="Reed7">Siblings: Cathy 1987 and Chris 1989</ref>
  • U. (born 1988) Nikki Reed (Jewish father)
  • U. (born 1989) Chris Reed, emigrated to Japan<ref name="Reed7"/> ;Living with unknown birth year
  • Australia (living) Lewis Reed
  • England<sup>2</sup> (living) James A. Reed (businessman), Jeremy Reed (writer)
  • United Kingdom<sup>3</sup> (living) Julia Reed, Kate Reed, Mark Reed (figure skater)
  • United States<sup>26</sup> (living) Adam Reed, Betty Reed, Daniel A Reed, Darrell Reed, Edward Reed (artist), Edward Reed (coach), Gary Reed (comic writer), Jack Reed (Mississippi), John K. Reed, John T. Reed, John Shedd Reed, Lawrence Reed, Lowell Reed, Pam Reed, Paul Reed (artist), Phil Reed, Ralph Reed (American Express), Sam Reed, Susan Reed, Thell Reed (Shooter), Tom Reed, Tracy Reed (writer)
  • United States (living) Raphew Reed Jr (African American)

Compound surnames

  • Davis-Reed: United States (living) Timothy Davis-Reed

Pseudonyms and aliases

  • Mexico (1901–1973) Donald Reed, born "Ernesto Avila Guillen", emigrated to the United States
  • United States
    • (1907–1977) Alan Reed, born "Teddy Bergman"
    • (1921–1986) Donna Reed, born "Donnabelle Mullenger"
    • (1926–1983) B. Mitchel Reed, born "Burton Mitchel Goldberg"
    • (born 1946) Alaina Reed Hall, sometimes billed as 'Alaina Reed' (African American)
    • (living) Alto Reed, American saxophonist

other versions of this surname