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

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

Holt is a name whose history is connected to the ancient Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from when the Holt family once lived near a grove or woods. The surname Holt originally derived from the Old English word holt which meant a "wood" or "grove."


Sound was what guided spelling in the essentially pre-literate Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Also, before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Therefore, spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Holt family name include Holte, Holt 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 Holt research. Another 193 words(14 lines of text) covering the years 1190, 1597, 1387, 1571, 1654, 1679, 1649, 1722, 1682, 1729, 1616, 1686, 1654, 1656, 1642, 1710 and 1689 are included under the topic Early Holt History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 153 words(11 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Holt Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Holt family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 57 words(4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


For political, religious, and economic reasons, thousands of English families boarded ships for Ireland, Canada, the America colonies, and many of smaller tropical colonies in the hope of finding better lives abroad. Although the passage on the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving, those families that survived the trip often went on to make valuable contributions to those new societies to which they arrived. Early immigrants bearing the Holt surname or a spelling variation of the name include:

Holt Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • Randall Holt settled in Virginia in 1620
  • Randall Holt, who landed in Virginia in 1620
  • Randolph Holt, who arrived in Virginia in 1621
  • Nicholas Holt, who arrived in Newbury, Massachusetts in 1635
  • William Holt settled in the Somers Island in 1635

Holt Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Henry Holt, who arrived in Virginia in 1701
  • Ismaell Holt, who arrived in Virginia in 1704
  • Joseph Holt, who landed in Barbados in 1712-1713
  • Mary Holt, who landed in Virginia in 1714
  • George Holt, who arrived in Virginia in 1717

Holt Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Gerh Holt, who landed in America in 1836
  • Neil J Holt, who landed in Mobile, Ala in 1849
  • James Holt, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1850
  • Ole Holt, who landed in Texas in 1853
  • William Holt, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1864


  • Henry Holt (1840-1926), American novelist and publisher, who founded Henry Holt and Co. publishing house in 1866
  • Rush Dew Holt Sr. (1905-1955), American Democratic politician, senator from West Virginia (1935-1941)
  • Rush Dew Holt Jr. (b. 1948), American physicist and Democratic politician, representative from New Jersey (1999-)
  • John Caldwell Holt (1924-1985), American educator and reformer
  • Jennifer Holt (1920-1997), American actress
  • Benjamin Leroy Holt (1849-1920), American inventor who patented and manufactured the first practical crawler-type tread tractor, founder of The Holt Manufacturing Company in 1892
  • Henry E. Holt (b. 1929), American astronomer who has discovered almost 700 asteroids, co-discoverer of periodic comets 121P/Shoemaker-Holt, 127P/Holt-Olmstead and 128P/Shoemaker-Holt
  • Torrance "Torry" Jabar Holt (b. 1976), former American college and professional NFL football wide receiver
  • David Jack Holt (1927-2003), American child actor
  • Col. Thomas Michael Holt (1831-1896), American industrialist and politician, 47th Governor of North Carolina (1891 to 1893)



  • Ancestors and Descendants of John and Isabel Holt, Williamson County, Tennessee by Albert L. Cooper.
  • Ancestry of Albright and Holt Families of Clay County, Missouri by Claribel Albright McClain.

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: Exaltavit humiles
Motto Translation: He hath exalted the humble.



  1. Hanks, Hodges, Mills and Room. The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7).
  2. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  3. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  4. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  5. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  6. Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
  7. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  8. 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.
  9. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  10. Crispin, M. Jackson and Leonce Mary. Falaise Roll Recording Prominent Companions of William Duke of Normandy at the Conquest of England. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  11. ...

The Holt Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Holt 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 7 July 2014 at 10:15.

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