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

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

The origins of the Head name lie with England's ancient Anglo-Saxon culture. It comes from when the family lived near a hill or near the source of a stream or the head of a valley. The name was originally derived from the Old English heafod, which meant head. The surname Head belongs to the class of topographic surnames, which were given to people who resided near physical features such as hills, streams, churches, or types of trees. Head may have also been a nickname given to someone with a large head or with some other peculiarity of the head.


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 Head were recorded, including Head, Heade, Heads, Heed and others.

First found in Norfolk, but we must look to Nottinghamshire to find the first listing of the name, Thomas del Heved who was listed there in the Hundred Rolls of 1273. [1] The same roll has lists the spelling as Hedde and the old Anglo-Saxon spelling Heved. (BP)


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Head research. Another 151 words(11 lines of text) covering the years 1275, 1737, 1609, 1689, 1667, 1679, 1637 and 1686 are included under the topic Early Head History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 53 words(4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Head Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Head family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 31 words(2 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 Head family emigrate to North America:

Head Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • William Head, who arrived in Virginia in 1622
  • James Head who settled in Virginia in 1636
  • Grace Head settled in Virginia in 1654
  • Grace Head, who landed in Virginia in 1654
  • Joseph Head, who arrived in Maryland in 1654

Head Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • John Head settled in Virginia in 1774
  • William Head settled in Maryland in 1774
  • John Head settled in Nantucket Massachusetts in 1775

Head Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Benjamin Head, aged 38, arrived in Vermont in 1812
  • John Head, who arrived in Maryland in 1845
  • Martin Head, aged 22, landed in Missouri in 1848
  • Nathaniel Head, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850
  • Bridget Head, aged 30, landed in New York in 1854


  • Edith Head (1897-1981), American costume designer who won eight Academy Awards
  • Jesse Head (b. 1983), American actor, best known for his role on the Olsen twins' sitcom So Little Time
  • Luther Dale Head (b. 1982), American professional basketball player
  • Anthony Henry Head (1906-1983), 1st Viscount Head, English, member of Parliament and Minister of Defence
  • Henry Head (1861-1940), English neurologist
  • Anthony Stewart Head (b. 1954), English actor and musician, best known for his roles as Rupert Giles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and as Uther Pendragon in Merlin
  • Paul Head (b. 1965), English hammer thrower at the 1992 Summer Olympics
  • Mr. Christopher Head (d. 1912), aged 42, English First Class passenger from Chelsea, London who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking
  • Mr. Alfred Head (d. 1912), aged 24, English Fireman/Stoker from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking
  • Sir Francis Bond Head (1793-1875), British Governor of Upper Canada (Ontario)



  • The Head Family According to Vital Record of New Hampshire by Julia E. Head.
  • The Head Family According to Vital Records of Vermont by Julia E. Head.

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  1. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)

Other References

  1. Innes, Thomas and Learney. The Tartans of the Clans and Families of Scotland 1st Edition. Edinburgh: W & A. K. Johnston Limited, 1938. Print.
  2. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  3. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  4. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  5. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  6. Burke, Sir Bernard. Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry: Including American Families with British Ancestry. (2 Volumes). London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  7. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  8. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  9. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  10. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  11. ...

The Head Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Head 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 6 October 2014 at 15:49.

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