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

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

In the Scottish/English Borderlands, the Strathclyde Britons were the first to use the name Hannah. It is derived from the personal names Hannah and Anna. Another possibility is that it is a religious name, taken from that of Hannah, mother of Samuel. Most likely, however, given the family's Gaelic origins is that it was an anglicized version of the Gaelic "O hAnnaigh", meaning "descendant of Annach", a byname meaning "iniquity".


In Medieval times, spelling and translation were not nearly so highly developed as today. They were generally carried out according to the sound and intuition of the bearer. For that reason spelling variations are extremely common among early Scottish names. Hannah has been spelled Hannah, Hanna, Hannay, Hanney and others.

First found in Wigtownshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Bhaile na h-Uige), formerly a county in southwestern Scotland, now part of the Council Area of Dumfries and Galloway, where in 1296, Gilbert de Hannethe residing in the county of Wiggetone at the time, rendered homage to King Edward I of England during his brief conquest of Scotland. During the same year, a Gilbert Hahanith, who may or may not be the same man, was juror on an inquest concerning the succession to Elena la Zuche. The next appearance of the name is in 1424 when John of Hanna (a name that suggests that the name may have been taken from a place, rather than of Gaelic origin) was master of a ship belonging to James, King of Scotland.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Hannah research. Another 217 words(16 lines of text) covering the years 1673, 1st , 1658, 1689 and 1630 are included under the topic Early Hannah History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 81 words(6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Hannah Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Hannah family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 107 words(8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


Unrest, poverty, and persecution caused thousands to look for opportunity and freedom in the North American colonies. The crossing was long, overcrowded, and unsanitary, though, and came only at great expense. Many Strathclyde families settled on the east coast of North America in communities that would form the backbone of what would become the great nations of the United States and Canada. The American War of Independence caused those who remained loyal to England to move north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. In the 20th century, Strathclyde and other Scottish families across North America began to recover their collective heritage through highland games and Clan societies. Among them:

Hannah Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • Thomas Hannah settled in Nantasket in 1630
  • Neal Hannah, who landed in Virginia in 1654
  • Andrew Hannah settled in Antigua in 1679
  • George Hannah settled in Barbados in 1680 with his wife and two children

Hannah Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Alexander Hannah settled in Boston in 1766
  • Robert Hannah, who landed in South Carolina in 1772
  • Andrew Hannah, aged 40, arrived in New York in 1774
  • Catarina Hannah, aged 26, arrived in New York in 1774

Hannah Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Hugh Hannah, who landed in America in 1801
  • James Hannah, who arrived in America in 1801
  • A.ndrew Hannah, who arrived in Charleston, South Carolina in 1807
  • John Hannah, who arrived in Anegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1808
  • Solomon Hannah, who landed in America in 1810


  • Daryl Christine Hannah (b. 1960), American award-winning film actress
  • John Peter Hannah (b. 1962), American former national security adviser to U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney
  • John Allen "Hawg" Hannah (b. 1951), American former NFL football left guard, inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1991
  • John Alfred Hannah (1902-1991), American academic, President of Michigan State College (1941-1955)
  • Page Hannah (b. 1964), American television and film actress,sister of Daryl Hannah
  • Jack Hannah (1913-1994), American animator, writer and director of animated shorts who directed 94 animated films for Disney Studios, honored as a "Disney Legend" in 1992
  • Howard Barry Hannah (1942-2010), American novelist and short story writer from Mississippi
  • Robert "Hurricane" Hannah (b. 1956), American motocross racer who won seven AMA national championships
  • Charley Hannah (b. 1955), American former NFL football offensive guard and defensive end
  • Sergeant John Hannah VC (1921-1947), Scottish aviator awarded the Victoria Cross during WWII



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: Per ardua ad alta
Motto Translation: Through straits to heights.


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  1. Warner, Philip Warner. Famous Scottish Battles. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1996. Print. (ISBN 0-76070-004-4).
  2. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  3. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  4. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  5. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry Including American Families with British Ancestry 2 Volumes. London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  6. Innes, Thomas and Learney. Socts Heraldry A Practical Handbook on the Historical Principles and Modern Application of the Art of Science. London: Oliver and Boyd, 1934. Print.
  7. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  8. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  9. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Scotch Irish Pioneers In Ulster and America. Montana: Kessinger Publishing. Print.
  10. Catholic Directory For Scotland. Glasgow: Burns Publications. Print.
  11. ...

The Hannah Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Hannah 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 23 October 2014 at 23:48.

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