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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016


The Greathead surname comes from the Old English words "great" or "large" and "heafod," meaning "head." It is supposed that this was originally a nickname for someone with a large head, which was later taken on as a surname.

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The surname Greathead was first found in Yorkshire where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor. The Saxon influence of English history diminished after the Battle of Hastings in 1066. The language of the courts was French for the next three centuries and the Norman ambience prevailed. But Saxon surnames survived and the family name was first referenced in the year 1351 when Thomas Grethed held estates at Whitby.

Spelling variations of this family name include: Greathead, Greathed, Greathouse, Greatus, Grethed, Grethouse and many more.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Greathead research. Another 268 words (19 lines of text) covering the years 1455 and 1487 are included under the topic Early Greathead History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Greathead Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Greathead Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • George Greathead landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • George Greathead, aged 28, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Martha Ridgway" in 1842
  • Dorothy Greathead, aged 30, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Martha Ridgway" in 1842
  • William Greathead, aged 3, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Martha Ridgway" in 1842
  • George Henry Greathead, aged 1, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Martha Ridgway" in 1842


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  • James Henry Greathead (1844-1896), engineer renowned for his work on the London Underground
  • Henry Greathead (1757-1818), British boat builder


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  1. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  2. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  3. Virkus, Frederick A. Ed. Immigrant Ancestors A List of 2,500 Immigrants to America Before 1750. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1964. Print.
  4. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  5. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  6. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  7. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  8. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  9. 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).
  10. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  11. ...

The Greathead Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Greathead 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 22 December 2010 at 14:50.

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