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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Where did the English Holmes family come from? What is the English Holmes family crest and coat of arms? When did the Holmes family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Holmes family history?

The origins of the Holmes name lie with England's ancient Anglo-Saxon culture. It comes from when the family lived in an area that was referred to as a holme, a slightly raised islet in a fen or partially surrounded by a stream or river. The surname Holmes was originally derived from the Old English word Holen.


Before the last few hundred years, the English language had no fast system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations are commonly found in early Anglo-Saxon surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Holmes were recorded, including Holme, Hulme, Holmes, Holms and others.

First found in Lancashire where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Holmes research. Another 189 words(14 lines of text) covering the years 1200, 1240, 1400, 1570, 1655, 1599, 1678, 1601, 1659, 1633, 1641, 1627, 1700, 1656, 1659, 1659, 1707, 1705, 1706, 1640, 1683, 1677, 1685, 1622, 1692, 1631, 1691, 1797 and are included under the topic Early Holmes History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 283 words(20 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Holmes Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Holmes family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 163 words(12 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


To escape oppression and starvation at that time, many English families left for the "open frontiers" of the New World with all its perceived opportunities. In droves people migrated to the many British colonies, those in North America in particular, paying high rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Although many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, those who did see the shores of North America perceived great opportunities before them. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Research into various historical records revealed some of first members of the Holmes family emigrate to North America:

Holmes Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • Alice Holmes, who arrived in Virginia in 1623
  • Richard Holmes, aged 24, arrived in Barbados in 1634
  • Joe Holmes settled in New England in 1635
  • Jo Holmes, aged 22, arrived in St Christopher in 1635
  • Mathew Holmes, aged 21, landed in Virginia in 1635

Holmes Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Grace Holmes, who arrived in Virginia in 1703
  • Susannah Holmes, who landed in Virginia in 1703
  • Anne Holmes, who arrived in Virginia in 1711
  • Avis Holmes, who landed in Virginia in 1713
  • Eliza Holmes, who arrived in Virginia in 1714

Holmes Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Henry Holmes, who arrived in Charleston, South Carolina in 1804
  • Joseph Holmes, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1808
  • Thomas Holmes, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1808
  • Nathaniel Holmes, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1812
  • Robert Holmes, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1812

Holmes Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century

  • Sevald Holmes, who landed in Alaska in 1900


  • Larry Holmes (b. 1949), American former world WBC and IBF heavyweight boxing champion
  • Philip Holmes (b. 1945), Professor and Chair of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton University
  • Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. (1809-1894), American physician, essayist and poet
  • Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. (1841-1935), justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
  • Brigadier-General Henry Benjamin Jr. Holmes (1892-1976), American Commanding Officer 46th Coast Artillery Brigade (1942-1943)
  • Brigadier-General Julius Cecil Holmes (1899-1968), American Assistant Secretary for Staff for Administration & Personnel (1944-1945)
  • Eamonn Holmes (b. 1959), Northern Irish journalist and broadcaster
  • Arthur Holmes FRS (1890-1965), British geologist
  • Dame Kelly Holmes DBE (b. 1970), retired British middle distance athlete
  • Captain Frederick William Holmes VC (1889-1969), British soldier and recipient of the Victoria Cross during WW I



  • Falling Leaves: A History of the Holmes Family and Allied Lines by Marjorie J. Caskey.
  • Holmes Genealogy: A Compilation of Genealogical History About Adams Holmes (1720-1789) of New Braintree, Massachusetts by John Albert Holmes.

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Fide sed cui vide
Motto Translation: Trust, but in whom take care.


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  1. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
  2. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  3. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  4. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  5. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
  6. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  7. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  8. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  9. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  10. Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X).
  11. ...

The Holmes Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Holmes Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 31 October 2014 at 01:59.

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