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

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

The age-old Pictish-Scottish family name Henderson is derived from the personal name Hendry, which is a chiefly Scottish derivative of the name Henry. There were two main branches of the Henderson family, one at Glencoe, in the lower Highlands, and one at Caithness, in the extreme north of Scotland.

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In the Middle ages, spelling and translation were not yet regulated by any general rules. spelling variations in names were common even among members of one family unit. Henderson has appeared Henderson, Henreyson, Henryson, MacKendrick and many more.

First found in Caithness, Glencoe, the Shetland Islands, Liddlesdale, and Fordell. One origin claims the Henderson family descend from Great Henry, son of King Nechtan, who was also the progenitor of the MacDonalds of Glencoe. However, the branch of the Henderson to whom this story relates also claim to have settled in the Glencoe territory many years before the Maclains or MacDonalds arrived there. This is consistent with the theory that this family are a branch of the northern family who moved south and became attached to the MacDonalds. Generally noted as great fighters, they became bodyguards of the Chief of the MacDonalds. They were also the hereditary pipers of that Clan, sometimes referred to as the Maclains. Later, in about 1530, there emerged another section of the Henderson Clan in the Border country of Liddesdale but the connection between this group and the main Clan is somewhat tenuous. However, it is known that many of the Highland Clans were invited, coerced or transported, sometimes as a whole sometimes as a branch, to the border country to provide better defenses against English attacks along the Border.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Henderson research. Another 255 words(18 lines of text) covering the years 1494, 1511, 1583, 1638, 1646, and 1692 are included under the topic Early Henderson History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 66 words(5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Henderson Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Henderson family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 196 words(14 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Faced by this persecution and the generally unstable political climate of those days, many Scots chose to leave their homeland for Ireland, Australia, and North America in search of greater opportunity and freedom. The colonies across the Atlantic were the most popular choice, but a passage there was neither cheap nor easily suffered. Passengers arrived sick and poor, but those who made it intact often found land and more tolerant societies in which to live. These brave settlers formed the backbone of the burgeoning nations of Canada and the United States. It is only this century that the ancestors of these families have begun to recover their collective identity through the patriotic highland games and Clan societies that have sprung up throughout North America. Research into early immigration and passenger lists revealed many immigrants bearing the name Henderson:

Henderson Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Alex Henderson, who came to Virginia in 1650
  • Alex Henderson, who landed in Virginia in 1650
  • Gilbert Henderson, who arrived in Virginia in 1652
  • Henrick Henderson, who landed in Virginia in 1657
  • Patrick Henderson, who arrived in Maryland in 1663


Henderson Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Charles Henderson, who was banished to Virginia in 1716
  • Hugh Henderson, who arrived in New England in 1729
  • Anna Henderson, who landed in New York in 1739
  • Don Henderson, who arrived in Boston in 1766
  • Colin Henderson, who settled in Virginia in 1773


Henderson Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Jacob Henderson, who landed in America in 1800
  • Prudence Henderson, aged 13, arrived in New Castle or Philadelphia in 1804
  • Elenor Henderson, aged 18, landed in New Castle or Philadelphia in 1804
  • Ann Henderson, aged 8, arrived in New Castle or Philadelphia in 1804
  • Archibald Henderson, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1805


Henderson Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century


  • Hamilton McKennie Henderson, who arrived in Alabama in 1917

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  • Ray Henderson (1896-1970), American composer
  • Lyle "Skitch" Russell Cedric Henderson (1918-2005), American pianist, conductor and bandleader
  • James Pinckney Henderson (1808-1858), American lawyer, politician, soldier, who was the first Governor of the State of Texas
  • Donald Ainslie "D.A." Henderson (b. 1928), American physician and epidemiologist, who headed the international effort during the 1960s to eradicate smallpox, recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • Alice Corbin Henderson (1881-1949), American poet, author and poetry editor
  • Archibald Henderson (1783-1859), American fifth Commandant of the US Marine Corps (1820-1859) known as the "Grand old man of the Marine Corps"
  • James Jackson "Biff" Henderson Jr. (b. 1946), American comedian, best known for his work on the Late Show with David Letterman
  • Charles Henderson Yoakum (1849-1909), American politician, U.S. Representative from Texas
  • Charles Roy Henderson (1911-1989), American statistician and a pioneer in animal breeding
  • David Bremner Henderson (1840-1906), Scottish-born, American ten-term Republican Congressman, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives from 1899 to 1903

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  • The Olden Days by LaVerne Hutchens Bish.
  • The Joh Family; Plus Allied Lines of Runkle, Humbert, Wade, Henderson by Crystal Pauline Randel Walters.
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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: Sola virtus nobilitat
Motto Translation: Virtue alone ennobles.

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Henderson Clan Badge
Henderson Clan Badge

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A clan is a social group made up of a number of distinct branch-families that actually descended from, or accepted themselves as descendants of, a common ancestor. The word clan means simply children. The idea of the clan as a community is necessarily based around this idea of heredity and is most often ruled according to a patriarchal structure. For instance, the clan chief represented the hereditary "parent" of the entire clan. The most prominent example of this form of society is the Scottish Clan system...

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Septs of the Distinguished Name Henderson
Hedderson, Henderson, Henreyson, Henryson and more.

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  1. Scarlett, James D. Tartan The Highland Textile. London: Shepheard-Walwyn, 1990. Print. (ISBN 0-85683-120-4).
  2. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  3. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  4. Adam, Frank. Clans Septs and Regiments of the Scottish Highlands 8th Edition. London: Bacon (G.W.) & Co, 1970. Print. (ISBN 10-0717945006).
  5. Innes, Thomas and Learney. Scots Heraldry A Practical Handbook on the Historical Principles and Mordern Application of the Art and Science. London: Oliver and Boyd, 1934. Print.
  6. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  7. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. Acts of Malcom IV 1153-65 Volume I Regesta Regum Scottorum 1153-1424. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1960. Print.
  8. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  9. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  10. Bloxham, Ben. Key to Parochial Registers of Scotland From Earliest Times Through 1854 2nd edition. Provo, UT: Stevenson's Genealogical Center, 1979. Print.
  11. ...

The Henderson Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Henderson 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 14 October 2014 at 19:51.

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