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

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

The Highsmith surname is derived from the Old English words "heah" meaning "high" and "smid" meaning "smith, blacksmith or ferrier." It is supposed that this compound name may have originally indicated a tall metal worker, or perhaps, a smith, who lived or worked upon high ground.

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Until quite recently, the English language has lacked a definite system of spelling rules. Consequently, Anglo-Saxon surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. Changes in Anglo-Saxon names were influenced by the evolution of the English language, as it incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other languages. Although Medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, so it is common to find one person referred to by several different spellings of his surname, even the most literate people varied the spelling of their own names. Variations of the name Highsmith include Highsmith, Heighsmith, Haighsmith, Hysmith and many more.

First found in Buckinghamshire, where they held a family seat from very early times.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Highsmith research. Another 87 words(6 lines of text) covering the years 1273, 1567, and 1585 are included under the topic Early Highsmith History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 27 words(2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Highsmith Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Searching for a better life, many English families migrated to British colonies. Unfortunately, the majority of them traveled under extremely harsh conditions: overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the ocean. For those families that arrived safely, modest prosperity was attainable, and many went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the new colonies. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Highsmith or a variant listed above:

Highsmith Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Bartholomew Highsmith, who landed in Virginia in 1715

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  • Carol M. Highsmith (b. 1946), American photographer, author, and publisher
  • Alonzo Highsmith (b. 1965), American professional NFL football player
  • Patricia Highsmith (1921-1995), American novelist
  • Shelby Highsmith (b. 1929), American lawyer and judge
  • Jim Highsmith (b. 1945), author of multiple books in the field of software development methodology


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  1. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  2. Shirley, Evelyn Philip. Noble and Gentle Men of England Or Notes Touching The Arms and Descendants of the Ancient Knightley and Gentle Houses of England Arranged in their Respective Counties 3rd Edition. Westminster: John Bowyer Nichols and Sons, 1866. Print.
  3. 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).
  4. Hanks, Hodges, Mills and Room. The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7).
  5. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  6. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  7. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  8. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  9. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  10. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  11. ...

The Highsmith Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Highsmith 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 1 June 2013 at 01:42.

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