Show ContentsAlifax History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Anglo-Saxon name Alifax comes from the family having resided 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 Alifax family

The surname Alifax 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 Alifax family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Alifax 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 Alifax History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Alifax Spelling Variations

Alifax has been spelled many different ways. Before English spelling became standardized over the last few hundred years, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. As the English language changed in the Middle Ages, absorbing pieces of Latin and French, as well as other languages, the spelling of people's names also changed considerably, even over a single lifetime. Spelling variants included: Hallifax, Halifax, Hallyfax, Halyfax and others.

Early Notables of the Alifax 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 Alifax Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Alifax family

In an attempt to escape the chaos experienced in England, many English families boarded overcrowded and diseased ships sailing for the shores of North America and other British colonies. Those families hardy enough, and lucky enough, to make the passage intact were rewarded with land and a social environment less prone to religious and political persecution. Many of these families became important contributors to the young colonies in which they settled. Early immigration and passenger lists have documented some of the first Alifaxs to arrive on North American shores: 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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