Show ContentsAtha History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The distinguished surname Atha is Ango-Saxon in origin. It is derived from the Old English "gehaeg", meaning "dweller at the enclosure" and was most likely originally borne by someone living within an enclosure. [1]

Most sources agree on this origin, but one differs: "This surname is derived from the name of an ancestor. 'the son of Adam,' from the colloquial Addy. This was sharpened into Atty." [2]

Early Origins of the Atha family

The surname Atha was first found in Cambridgeshire, where Lecia Ateheye was recorded in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1279. [1]

While this is the first entry in early rolls, another source notes that Gerard de Atie, and Engelard, his nephew, were chief supporters of King John who reigned between from 1199 to 1216. [3]

Early History of the Atha family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Atha research. Another 84 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1279, 1379, 1568 and 1388 are included under the topic Early Atha History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Atha Spelling Variations

Sound was what guided spelling in the essentially pre-literate Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Also, before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Therefore, spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Atha family name include Athy, Athey, Atha, Atty, Attey and others.

Early Notables of the Atha family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Atha Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Atha family to Ireland

Some of the Atha family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 69 words (5 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Atha migration to the United States +

For political, religious, and economic reasons, thousands of English families boarded ships for Ireland, Canada, the America colonies, and many of smaller tropical colonies in the hope of finding better lives abroad. Although the passage on the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving, those families that survived the trip often went on to make valuable contributions to those new societies to which they arrived. Early immigrants bearing the Atha surname or a spelling variation of the name include:

Atha Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Mrs. Herbert Atha, aged 25, who immigrated to the United States, in 1896
  • Mrs. H.G. Atha, aged 23, who settled in America, in 1896
  • Thomas Atha, aged 56, who landed in America from Huddersfield, in 1897
Atha Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Augustus A. Atha, who landed in America, in 1903
  • Mrs. Atha, aged 52, who landed in America, in 1905
  • Albert H. Atha, aged 30, who settled in America, in 1906
  • Henry Atha, who landed in America, in 1907
  • Herbert B. Atha, aged 36, who landed in America, in 1907
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Atha (post 1700) +

  • Robert Atha (b. 1960), American football placekicker, punter, and backup quarterback
  • Richard E. "Dick" Atha (b. 1931), retired American basketball player
  • Bernard Peter Atha CBE (1928-2022), English politician and actor, lord Mayor of Leeds (2000-2001), a major figure in the arts and sport in West Yorkshire
  • Stuart David Atha DSO ADC, British senior officer of the Royal Air Force, current Air Officer Commanding No 1 Group

The Atha Motto +

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: Duci et non trahi
Motto Translation: To be led and not dragged.

  1. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  3. 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) on Facebook