Show ContentsFalls History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

When the ancestors of the Falls family emigrated to England following the Norman Conquest in 1066 they brought their family name with them. They lived in Midlothian. The name comes from the Old English word fall, which, strangely, could indicate someone who lived near either a waterfall or a meadow. Another derivation suggests that the name is a local reference to the area of Falaise, Normandy. Time has confused the two derivations, and it is now extremely difficult to tell which is appropriate in a given case. [1]

Early Origins of the Falls family

The surname Falls was first found in Midlothian where they held a family seat from very early times and were granted lands by Duke William of Normandy, their liege Lord, for their distinguished assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D.

The Falle variant is now native to Jersey in the Channel Islands, but was originally from Lancashire where Gilbert de la Falle was recorded in the Assize Rolls of 1263. William de Fall was listed in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1255 in Oxfordshire and Geoffrey del Falles was found in the Subsidy Rolls of Yorkshire in 1297. [1]

The Fallas or Fallis variant dates back to the Domesday Book of 1086 where it was first recorded by William de Faleise, de Falisia in Wiltshire. [2]

Early History of the Falls family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Falls research. Another 79 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1165, 1421, 1453, 1567, 1656, 1742, 1736 and 1694 are included under the topic Early Falls History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Falls Spelling Variations

The English language only became standardized in the last few centuries. For that reason, spelling variations are common among many Anglo-Norman names. The shape of the English language was frequently changed with the introduction of elements of Norman French, Latin, and other European languages; even the spelling of literate people's names were subsequently modified. Falls has been recorded under many different variations, including Falla, Fala, Falle, Falls, Fallows, Fallis and many more.

Early Notables of the Falls family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was George Fala Scottish Ambassador. Philip Falle (1656-1742) was a clergyman and historian of Jersey. He was born in the parish of St. Saviour in Jersey and was sent to England at a very early...
Another 42 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Falls Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Falls Ranking

In the United States, the name Falls is the 4,289th most popular surname with an estimated 7,461 people with that name. [3]

United States Falls migration to the United States +

To escape the uncertainty of the political and religious uncertainty found in England, many English families boarded ships at great expense to sail for the colonies held by Britain. The passages were expensive, though, and the boats were unsafe, overcrowded, and ridden with disease. Those who were hardy and lucky enough to make the passage intact were rewarded with land, opportunity, and social environment less prone to religious and political persecution. Many of these families went on to be important contributors to the young nations of Canada and the United States where they settled. Fallss were some of the first of the immigrants to arrive in North America:

Falls Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • David Falls, who arrived in Baltimore in 1803
  • Davd Falls, aged 25, who arrived in Baltimore, Maryland in 1803 [4]
  • John Falls, who landed in Charleston, South Carolina in 1805 [4]
  • Alexander Falls, who settled in Baltimore in 1830
  • Hugh Falls, who arrived in New York in 1840 [4]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Falls migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Falls Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • William S Falls, who landed in Canada in 1835

New Zealand Falls migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Falls Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Henry Falls, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Mermaid" in 1859 [5]
  • Mr. Henry Falls, British settler travelling from Liverpool aboard the ship 'Mermaid' arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 19th October 1859 [6]

Contemporary Notables of the name Falls (post 1700) +

  • Kevin Falls, American television writer and producer
  • Joseph Francis Falls (1928-2004), American journalist
  • Robert Falls (b. 1954), American theater director and the current Artistic Director of the Goodman Theatre in Chicago
  • Harold Francis Falls (1909-2006), American ophthalmologist and geneticist
  • Cyril Bentham Falls (1888-1971), British military historian noted for his work on the First World War
  • Falls Bacon Hershey (b. 1918), American surgeon and educator

Halifax Explosion

  1. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  3. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  4. Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  5. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 5th November 2010). Retrieved from
  6. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from
  7. Halifax Explosion Book of Remembrance | Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. (Retrieved 2014, June 23) . Retrieved from on Facebook