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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

Where did the English Greathead family come from? What is the English Greathead family crest and coat of arms? When did the Greathead family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Greathead family history?

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

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.


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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. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  2. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  3. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  4. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
  5. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  6. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  7. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  8. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  9. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  10. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  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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