Show ContentsHalstead History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestry of the name Halstead dates from the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. It comes from when the family lived in Halstead, a place name found in Essex, Kent, and Leicestershire. The place name is derived from the Old English terms heald, which meant refuge or shelter, and stede, which meant place. The name as a whole means "place of shelter," and probably refers to a place which was well sheltered from the elements. The family name would have meant "dweller at a place of refuge." There is a second origin for this name, making it a polygenetic surname. It may also be occupational, referring to a "worker at the hall buildings," or a person who took care of livestock.

Early Origins of the Halstead family

The surname Halstead was first found in Essex where town and civil parish located in Braintree District. The Domesday Book offers two listing for the place Halstead. The first was listed as Haltesteda [1] in Essex, land held by William de Warenne and part of the Hundred of Hinckford. The land held 2 hides (land enough for two households) less 4 acres where 30 free men lived before the Conquest. Over in Leicestershire, the village Elstede [1] was listed in the same reference as land held by the King, part of Allexton and was 3 carucates of land, less 2 bovates; in other words much smaller than the Essex village. [2] To complicate things more, Halstead is a village and civil parish in the Sevenoaks District of Kent, but this village is not listed in the Domesday Book.

Early History of the Halstead family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Halstead research. Another 94 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1181, 1794 and 1878 are included under the topic Early Halstead History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Halstead Spelling Variations

Spelling variations in names were a common occurrence before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago. In the Middle Ages, even the literate spelled their names differently as the English language incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other European languages. Many variations of the name Halstead have been found, including Halstead, Halsted and others.

Early Notables of the Halstead family (pre 1700)

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

Halstead Ranking

In the United States, the name Halstead is the 4,230th most popular surname with an estimated 7,461 people with that name. [3]

United States Halstead migration to the United States +

Families began migrating abroad in enormous numbers because of the political and religious discontent in England. Often faced with persecution and starvation in England, the possibilities of the New World attracted many English people. Although the ocean trips took many lives, those who did get to North America were instrumental in building the necessary groundwork for what would become for new powerful nations. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America bore the name Halstead, or a variant listed above:

Halstead Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Halstead who arrived in New York State in 1775
  • John Halstead, who arrived in New York in 1798 [4]
Halstead Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Halstead, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1840 [4]
  • David, and Joseph Halstead, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1856

Australia Halstead migration to Australia +

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

Halstead Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John Halstead, English convict who was convicted in Lancaster, Lancashire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "David Lyon" on 29th April 1830, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [5]
  • Thomas Halstead, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Princess Royal" in 1848 [6]
  • Henry Halstead, aged 22, a carpenter, who arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship "Lord Raglan" [7]

New Zealand Halstead 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:

Halstead Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Captian Halstead, British settler, from the 57th Regiment travelling from London aboard the ship "Queen of the Deep" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 14th June 1854 [8]

Contemporary Notables of the name Halstead (post 1700) +

  • Dirck Storm Halstead (1936-2022), American photojournalist, editor and publisher of The Digital Journalist
  • William Storm Halstead (1903-1987), American inventor of stereophonic broadcasting in 1950
  • Bianca Halstead (1965-2001), American rock musician, the bassist and lead singer of the bands Betty Blowtorch and Butt Trumpet
  • Rebecca Stevens "Becky" Halstead (b. 1959), retired U.S. Army Brigadier General, former commander of the U.S. Army Ordnance Center
  • Dirck Halstead (b. 1936), American photographer; he was Life magazine's youngest combat photographer covering the Guatemalan Civil War at the age of 17, two-time winner of the NPPA Picture of the Year and awarded the Robert Capa Gold Medal, son of William Storm Halstead
  • Fred W. Halstead (1927-1988), American politician, candidate for President of the United States of the Socialist Workers Party in 1968
  • William Halstead (1794-1878), American Whig Party politician, Member of the United States House of Representatives for New Jersey (1837–1839) and (1841-1843)
  • Henry Halstead (1897-1984), American bandleader, founder of the Henry Halstead Orchestra that made over 100 phonograph records
  • Benjamin Terry Halstead (1850-1917), American Democratic Party politician, Candidate for Circuit Judge in Michigan 33rd Circuit, 1899, 1911; Candidate for Michigan State Board of Agriculture, 1909 [9]
  • Benjamin Howard Halstead (1876-1943), American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Michigan, 1932; Member of Michigan State Board of Agriculture, 1934-39; Defeated, 1925, 1939, 1941 [9]
  • ... (Another 23 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Suggested Readings for the name Halstead +

  • Three Hundred and Fifty Years of Halsteads in America by Gary Allen Halstead.

  1. Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  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. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 3rd June 2021). Retrieved from
  6. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) PRINCESS ROYAL 1848. Retrieved from
  7. South Australian Register Friday February 7th, 1856. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Lord Raglan 1856. Retrieved
  8. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from
  9. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 6) . Retrieved from on Facebook