Haig History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The distinguished and ancient surname Haig is Old English in origin, and traces its history back to the Middle Ages, when the island of Britain was inhabited by the Anglo-Saxons. The name is derived from the Old English "haga" or the Old Norse "hagi," which both mean "dweller by the haw." It is likely that the name was first borne by someone who lived near a hedged field or enclosure. Although now the name is pronounced as a single syllable, it was originally pronounced as two, as can be seen from the spelling “Hag-he”. Most likely, the second syllable was a hard “g” sound; the name was probably pronounced “hah-geh”.

Early Origins of the Haig family

The surname Haig was first found in Yorkshire, where Jollan de Hagh was recorded in 1229. The Scottish branch lived in Bemersyde for many centuries after their arrival in Scotland.

Early History of the Haig family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Haig research. Another 116 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1800 and 1861 are included under the topic Early Haig History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Haig Spelling Variations

The name, Haig, occurred in many references, and from time to time, it was spelt Haig, Haigh, Hague, Hait, Haight, Hate, Haga and others.

Early Notables of the Haig family (pre 1700)

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


United States Haig migration to the United States +

The New World beckoned settlers from the Scottish-English borders. They sailed aboard the armada of sailing ships known as the "White Sails" which plied the stormy Atlantic. Some called them, less romantically, the "coffin ships." Among the early settlers bearing the Haig surname who came to North America were:

Haig Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Haig, who arrived in America in 1808 [1]
  • James Haig, who arrived in Charleston, South Carolina in 1821 [1]
  • Walter Haig, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1869 [1]
  • Robert Haig, who landed in St Clair County, Illinois in 1872 [1]
  • George Haig, who landed in St Clair County, Illinois in 1872 [1]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Haig migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Haig Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Agnes Haig, Scottish convict from Glasgow, who was transported aboard the "Arab" on December 14, 1835, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [2]

New Zealand Haig 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:

Haig Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Alexander Haig, Scottish carpenter from Leith travelling from Leith aboard the ship "Strathallan" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 8th January 1858 [3]
  • Mrs. Cecilia Elizabeth Haig, Scottish settler from Leith travelling from Leith aboard the ship "Strathallan" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 8th January 1858 [3]
  • Child Haig, Scottish settler from Leith travelling from Leith aboard the ship "Strathallan" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 8th January 1858 [3]
  • Miss Helen Haig, Scottish settler travelling from Scotland aboard the ship "Viola" arriving in Port Chalmers, Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 26th July 1866 [3]

Contemporary Notables of the name Haig (post 1700) +

  • General Alexander Meigs Haig Jr. (1924-2010), American Army general who served as the U.S. Secretary of State under President Ronald Reagan and is a recipient of the Distinguished Service Cross [4]
  • John A. Haig, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from New York, 1892 [5]
  • J. Frederick Haig, American Republican politician, Member of Connecticut State House of Representatives from Middletown, 1939-40 [5]
  • David Haig (b. 1955), Olivier Award-winning English actor
  • Shirley Ethel Haig (b. 1950), retired New Zealand field hockey player
  • Jack Haig (1913-1989), British actor
  • David Haig, Australian biologist
  • Sir Douglas Haig (1861-1928), 1st Earl Haig, a British Field Marshal during World War I
  • Charles Haig Bridgford (1910-1993), Australian politician who represented the South Eastern Province in the Victorian Legislative Council from 1955 to 1961
  • Douglas Haig Young (1928-2019), Newfoundland-born, Canadian politician, MHA for Harbour Grace

HMS Royal Oak
  • James D. Haig, British Leading Seaman with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he survived the sinking [6]


The Haig 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: Sola Virtus Invicta
Motto Translation: Virtue alone is invincible


  1. ^ 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)
  2. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2015, January 8) Arab voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1835 with 132 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/arab/1835
  3. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  4. ^ Alexander Haig. (Retrieved 2010, September 27) Alexander Haig. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Haig
  5. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, December 1) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  6. ^ Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from https://uboat.net/allies/merchants/crews/ship68.html


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