Aillifax History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The origins of the Aillifax name lie with England's ancient Anglo-Saxon culture. It comes from when the family lived in Halifax, a place in the West Riding of Yorkshire. The place-name was spelled Halyfax in 1095 and is probably derived from the Old English words halh, which meant "remote corner of land," and gefeaxe, which meant coarse grass. Collectively the place-name means "remote nook where the coarse grass grows." [1]

Early Origins of the Aillifax family

The surname Aillifax was first found in the West Riding of Yorkshire where they claim descent from the distinguished Waterhouse family through a younger branch who adopted, about the 12th century, the name de Halifax, from the town they lived in. Early Yorkshire rolls listed: Jordan de Halifax in 1297; Judde de Halifax in 1309; and William de Halifax in 1382. [2]

The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls included: Johannes Halyfax, laborer; and Margreta Halyfax. laborer. [3]

One source claims that the name is derived from "Holy Locks [Old English hálig, holy + f(e)ax, hair of the head]" and includes this interesting passage: "According to the old local legend the name has reference to the tresses of a maiden who was murdered by a priest. And travelling along by Heading-Halifax, Which Horton once was call'd, but of a Virgin's hair, (A martyr that was made, for chastity, that there Was by her lover slain) being fast'ned to a tree: The people that would needs it should a relique be, It Halifax since nam'd, which, in the Northern tongue, Is Holy Hair." [4]

Early History of the Aillifax family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Aillifax research. Another 94 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1655, 1722, 1655, 1670, 1674, 1682, 1675, 1678, 1687, 1685, 1722, 1721 and 1722 are included under the topic Early Aillifax History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Aillifax Spelling Variations

Before the last few hundred years, the English language had no fast system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations are commonly found in early Anglo-Saxon surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Aillifax were recorded, including Hallifax, Halifax, Hallyfax, Halyfax and others.

Early Notables of the Aillifax family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include William Hallifax (1655?-1722), English divine, born at Springthorpe, Lincolnshire, about 1655, was the son of the Rev. John Hallifax. "On 20 Feb. 1670 he entered Brasenose College, Oxford, as a servitor, but was admitted a scholar of Corpus Christi College in April 1674, and a fellow in December 1682. He graduated...
Another 57 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Aillifax Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Aillifax family

To escape oppression and starvation at that time, many English families left for the "open frontiers" of the New World with all its perceived opportunities. In droves people migrated to the many British colonies, those in North America in particular, paying high rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Although many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, those who did see the shores of North America perceived great opportunities before them. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Research into various historical records revealed some of first members of the Aillifax family emigrate to North America: Lidia and Simon Halifax who settled in Barbados in 1675.



  1. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  4. ^ Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print


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