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

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

There are many Irish surnames being used today in forms that are quite different than their original, ancient forms. Higgins originally appeared in Gaelic as O huigin, which is derived from the word uiging, which is akin to the Norse word viking.

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People who were accounted for by scribes and church officials often had their name recorded many different ways because pronunciation was the only guide those scribes and church officials had to go by. This resulted in the problem of one person's name being recorded under several different variations, creating the illusion of more than one person. Among the many spelling variations of the surname Higgins that are preserved in archival documents are Higgins, Higgin, O'Higgin, Higgans, Higgens and many more.

First found in County Sligo (Irish: Sligeach), in the province of Connacht in Northwestern Ireland, where they held a family seat from ancient times. This distinguished Irish Clann was a branch of the O'Neills, said to descend from a grandson of Niall of the Nine Hostages, the 4th century High King of Ireland and founder of the Uí Neill Clan.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Higgins research. Another 289 words(21 lines of text) covering the years 1315, 1501, 1595, 1720, 1578, 1659, 1624, 1691, 1659, 1661, 1679, 1670, 1735, 1720, 1801, 1796 and 1818 are included under the topic Early Higgins History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 197 words(14 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Higgins Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Ireland became inhospitable for many native Irish families in the 19th centuries. Poverty, lack of opportunities, high rents, and discrimination forced thousands to leave the island for North America. The largest exodus of Irish settlers occurred with the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. For these immigrants the journey to British North America and the United States was long and dangerous and many did not live to see the shores of those new lands. Those who did make it were essential to the development of what would become two of the wealthiest and most powerful nations of the world. These Irish immigrants were not only important for peopling the new settlements and cities, they also provided the manpower needed for the many industrial and agricultural projects so essential to these growing nations. Immigration and passenger lists have documented the arrival of various people bearing the name Higgins to North America:

Higgins Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Elizabeth Higgins, who landed in Virginia in 1623
  • Abraham Higgins, who landed in Salem, Massachusetts in 1637
  • Georg Higgins, who landed in Virginia in 1639
  • Richard Higgins, who landed in Maryland in 1649
  • Francis Higgins, who arrived in Virginia in 1651


Higgins Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Charles Higgins, who arrived in Virginia in 1702
  • Timo Higgins, who arrived in Virginia in 1703
  • Walter Higgins, who landed in Virginia in 1705
  • Norah Higgins, who arrived in Virginia in 1706
  • Alexander Higgins, aged 18, arrived in New England in 1724


Higgins Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Edward Higgins, aged 27, arrived in New York in 1800
  • William Higgins, who arrived in New York in 1804
  • Terrence Higgins, who landed in America in 1804
  • Nicholas Higgins, who landed in America in 1811
  • Bernard Higgins, aged 21, arrived in Tennessee in 1812


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  • George Higgins (1939-1999), American novelist
  • Marguerite Higgins (1920-1966), American reporter and war correspondent and the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize (1951) for international reporting
  • George G. Higgins (1916-2002), renowned labor activist and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • Brigadier-General Gerald Joseph Higgins (1909-1996), American Deputy Commanding General 4th Division (1949-1950)
  • Andrew Jackson Higgins (1886-1952), American businessman, founder and owner of Higgins Industries who built over 20,000 Higgins boats, landing crafts used extensively in amphibious landings in World War II
  • Steve Higgins (b. 1963), American writer and comedian
  • Edward Haydn "Eddie" Higgins (1932-2009), American jazz pianist, composer and orchestrator
  • Johnnie Lee Higgins (b. 1983), American NFL football wide receiver
  • Alex (Hurricane) Higgins (b. 1949), Irish snooker player
  • Dame Rosalyn Higgins DBE, QC (b. 1937), British former President of the International Court of Justice (2006-2009) and winner of the 2007 Balzan Prize for International Law

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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: Pro patria
Motto Translation: For my country

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  1. Sullivan, Sir Edward. The Book of Kells 3rd Edition. New York: Crescent Books, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-517-61987-3).
  2. MacLysaght, Edward. Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7).
  3. Fitzgerald, Thomas W. Ireland and Her People A Library of Irish Biography 5 Volumes. Chicago: Fitzgerald. Print.
  4. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  5. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1992. Print.
  6. Somerset Fry, Peter and Fiona Somerset Fry. A History of Ireland. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1993. Print. (ISBN 1-56619-215-3).
  7. Woodham-Smith, Cecil. The Great Hunger Ireland 1845-1849. New York: Old Town Books, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-385-3).
  8. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  9. 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).
  10. McDonnell, Frances. Emigrants from Ireland to America 1735-1743 A Transcription of the report of the Irish House of Commons into Enforced emigration to America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1331-5).
  11. ...

The Higgins Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Higgins 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 15 October 2014 at 13:48.

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