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

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

There are many Irish surnames being used today in forms that are quite different than their original, ancient forms. O'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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Irish names were rarely spelled consistently in the Middle Ages. Spelling variations of the name O'Higgins dating from that time include 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 O'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 O'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 O'Higgins Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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The 19th century saw a great wave of Irish families leaving Ireland for the distant shores of North America and Australia. These families often left their homeland hungry, penniless, and destitute do to the policies of England. Those Irish immigrants that survived the long sea passage initially settled on the eastern seaboard of the continent. Some, however, moved north to a then infant Canada as United Empire Loyalists after ironically serving with the English in the American War of Independence. Others that remained in America later joined the westward migration in search of land. The greatest influx of Irish immigrants, though, came to North America during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. Thousands left Ireland at this time for North America, and those who arrived were immediately put to work building railroads, coal mines, bridges, and canals. In fact, the foundations of today's powerful nations of the United Sates and Canada were to a larger degree built by the Irish. Archival documents indicate that members of the O'Higgins family relocated to North American shores quite early: Dan Higgins, who settled in Virginia in 1654; Francis Higgins settled in Virginia in 1651; John Higgins settled in Virginia in 1659; Walter Higgins settled in Nevis in 1663.

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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. Fitzgerald, Thomas W. Ireland and Her People A Library of Irish Biography 5 Volumes. Chicago: Fitzgerald. Print.
  2. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  3. Donovan, George Francis. The Pre-Revolutionary Irish in Massachusetts 1620-1775. Menasha, WI: Geroge Banta Publsihing Co., 1932. Print.
  4. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  5. Johnson, Daniel F. Irish Emigration to New England Through the Port of Saint John, New Brunswick Canada 1841-1849. Baltimore, Maryland: Clearfield, 1996. Print.
  6. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  7. 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).
  8. Vicars, Sir Arthur. Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland 1536-1810. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  9. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  10. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  11. ...

The O'Higgins Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The O'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 17 January 2014 at 14:27.

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