Greathead History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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.

Early Origins of the Greathead family

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.

Important Dates for the Greathead family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Greathead research. Another 83 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1455 and 1487 are included under the topic Early Greathead History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Greathead Spelling Variations

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

Early Notables of the Greathead family (pre 1700)

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

Greathead 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:

Greathead Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • George Greathead, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • George Greathead, aged 28, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Martha Ridgway" in 1842
  • Dorothy Greathead, aged 30, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Martha Ridgway" in 1842
  • William Greathead, aged 3, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Martha Ridgway" in 1842
  • George Henry Greathead, aged 1, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Martha Ridgway" in 1842
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Greathead (post 1700)

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