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

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

The original Gaelic form of Higginson was O hUgin, 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 Higginson that are preserved in archival documents are Higginson, Hickinson, Hickenson, Hickeson 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 early times.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Higginson research. Another 229 words(16 lines of text) covering the years 1764, 1588, 1630, 1629, 1630, 1616, 1708, 1652, 1708, 1692 and 1698 are included under the topic Early Higginson History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 297 words(21 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Higginson Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Irish families left their homeland in astonishing numbers during the 19th century in search of a better life. Although individual reasons vary, most of these Irish families suffered from extreme poverty, lack of work opportunities, and exorbitant rents in their homeland. Many decided to travel to Australia or North America in the hopes of finding greater opportunities and land. The Irish immigrants that came to North America initially settled on the East Coast, often in major centers such as Boston or New York. But like the many other cultures to settle in North America, the Irish traveled to almost any region they felt held greater promise; as a result, many Irish with gold fever moved all the way out to the Pacific coast. Others before that time left for land along the St. Lawrence River and the Niagara Peninsula, or the Maritimes as United Empire Loyalists, for many Irish did choose to side with the English during the American War of Independence. The earliest wave of Irish migration, however, occurred during the Great Potato Famine of the 1840s. An examination of early immigration and passenger lists has revealed many people bearing the Higginson name:

Higginson Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Anne, Charles, Frances, John, Mary, Neophytus, Samuel, Pheophilus, Timothy Higginson, who all settled in Salem, Massachusetts in 1629
  • John Higginson, who landed in New England in 1629
  • Francis Higginson, who arrived in Salem, Massachusetts in 1629
  • Humfrey Higginson, aged 28, arrived in Virginia in 1635
  • Humphrey Higginson settled in Virginia in 1635


Higginson Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Abbigal Higginson, who landed in Virginia in 1701
  • Stewart Higginson, who landed in Mississippi in 1798

Higginson Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Charles Higginson, who landed in New York, NY in 1834
  • W Higginson, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850
  • Thomas Higginson, who arrived in Washington County, Pennsylvania in 1886

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  • Henry Lee Higginson (1834-1919), American banker and philanthropist and founder of the Boston Symphony Orchestra
  • Thomas Wentworth Higginson (1823-1911), American author, abolitionist, and soldier
  • William J. Higginson (1938-2008), American poet, translator, and author
  • General Sir George Wentworth Alexander Higginson GCB, GCVO (1826-1927), British Crimean War hero
  • Torri Higginson (b. 1969), award winning Canadian stage and film actress
  • Lyall Higginson, Canadian Cardiologist and former Chief of Staff of the University of Ottawa Heart Institute
  • James Macaulay Higginson (1805-1885), British Governor of Antigua from 1847 to 1850


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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: Malo mori quam foedari
Motto Translation: I would rather die than be disgraced.

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  1. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  2. Tepper, Michael Ed & Elizabeth P. Bentley Transcriber. Passenger Arrivals at the Port of Philadelphia 1800-1819. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1986. Print.
  3. Heraldic Scroll and Map of Family names and Origins of Ireland. Dublin: Mullins. Print.
  4. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  5. Read, Charles Anderson. The Cabinet of Irish Literature Selections from the Works of the Chief Poets, Orators and Prose Writers of Ireland 4 Volumes. London: Blackie and Son, 1884. Print.
  6. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  7. Grehan, Ida. Dictionary of Irish Family Names. Boulder: Roberts Rinehart, 1997. Print. (ISBN 1-57098-137-X).
  8. Vicars, Sir Arthur. Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland 1536-1810. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  9. Woulfe, Rev. Patrick. Irish Names and Surnames Collected and Edited with Explanatory and Historical Notes. Kansas City: Genealogical Foundation, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-940134-403).
  10. Johnson, Daniel F. Irish Emigration to New England Through the Port of Saint John, New Brunswick Canada 1841-1849. Baltimore, Maryland: Clearfield, 1996. Print.
  11. ...

The Higginson Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Higginson 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 16 March 2014 at 00:52.

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