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Shields Family History

Shields Name Meaning

Irish: reduced form of O’Shields, an alternative Anglicized form of Gaelic Ó Siadhail ‘descendant of Siadhal’. Northern English and Scottish: habitational name from a pair of places in Northumberland and County Durham (now both in Tyne and Wear) called North and South Shields, named with Middle English schele ‘shed’, ‘hut’, ‘shelter’. There has been much confusion between Shields and Shield and their variants.

Source: Dictionary of American Family Names ©2013, Oxford University Press

Similar surnames: Shield, O'shields, Shiels, Field, Sheilds, Fields, Shiel, Deshields

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Hint: Try searching for a relative alive in 1940.

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Where is the Shields family from?

You can see how Shields families moved over time by selecting different census years. The Shields family name was found in the USA, the UK, Canada, and Scotland between 1840 and 1920. The most Shields families were found in the USA in 1880. In 1840 there were 102 Shields families living in Pennsylvania. This was about 16% of all the recorded Shields's in the USA. Pennsylvania had the highest population of Shields families in 1840.
Use census records and voter lists to see where families with the Shields surname lived. Within census records, you can often find information like name of household members, ages, birthplaces, residences, and occupations.

What did your Shields ancestors do for a living?

In 1940, Laborer and Housewife were the top reported jobs for men and women in the US named Shields. 16% of Shields men worked as a Laborer and 7% of Shields women worked as a Housewife. Some less common occupations for Americans named Shields were Clerk and Maid.

View Census data for Shields | Data not to scale

*We display top occupations by gender to maintain their historical accuracy during times when men and women often performed different jobs.

Top Male Occupations in 1940

  • Laborer
  • Farmer
  • Salesman
  • Clerk

Top Female Occupations in 1940

  • Housewife
  • Teacher
  • Housekeeper
  • Maid
Black & white image of two construction labourers

What Shields family records will you find?

Census Records

There are 327,000 census records available for the last name Shields. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Shields census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

Search US census records for Shields

Passenger Lists

There are 40,000 immigration records available for the last name Shields. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in the USA, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

View all Shields immigration records

Draft Cards

There are 59,000 military records available for the last name Shields. For the veterans among your Shields ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

View all Shields military records

You've only scratched the surface of Shields family history.

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What is the average Shields lifespan?

Between 1940 and 2004, in the United States, Shields life expectancy was at its lowest point in 1945, and highest in 2002. The average life expectancy for Shields in 1940 was 42, and 74 in 2004.

View Social Security Death Index (SSDI) for Shields

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