Halyfax History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the bearers of the Halyfax family name are thought have lived in ancient Anglo-Saxon England. They were first found in Halifax, a place in the West Riding of Yorkshire. The place-name was spelled Halyfax in 1095 and is probably derived from the Old English words halh, which meant "remote corner of land," and gefeaxe, which meant coarse grass. Collectively the place-name means "remote nook where the coarse grass grows." [1]

Early Origins of the Halyfax family

The surname Halyfax was first found in the West Riding of Yorkshire where they claim descent from the distinguished Waterhouse family through a younger branch who adopted, about the 12th century, the name de Halifax, from the town they lived in. Early Yorkshire rolls listed: Jordan de Halifax in 1297; Judde de Halifax in 1309; and William de Halifax in 1382. [2]

The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls included: Johannes Halyfax, laborer; and Margreta Halyfax. laborer. [3]

One source claims that the name is derived from "Holy Locks [Old English hálig, holy + f(e)ax, hair of the head]" and includes this interesting passage: "According to the old local legend the name has reference to the tresses of a maiden who was murdered by a priest. And travelling along by Heading-Halifax, Which Horton once was call'd, but of a Virgin's hair, (A martyr that was made, for chastity, that there Was by her lover slain) being fast'ned to a tree: The people that would needs it should a relique be, It Halifax since nam'd, which, in the Northern tongue, Is Holy Hair." [4]

Early History of the Halyfax family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Halyfax research. Another 94 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1655, 1722, 1655, 1670, 1674, 1682, 1675, 1678, 1687, 1685, 1722, 1721 and 1722 are included under the topic Early Halyfax History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Halyfax Spelling Variations

Until quite recently, the English language has lacked a definite system of spelling rules. Consequently, Anglo-Saxon surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. Changes in Anglo-Saxon names were influenced by the evolution of the English language, as it incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other languages. Although Medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, so it is common to find one person referred to by several different spellings of his surname, even the most literate people varied the spelling of their own names. Variations of the name Halyfax include Hallifax, Halifax, Hallyfax, Halyfax and others.

Early Notables of the Halyfax family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include William Hallifax (1655?-1722), English divine, born at Springthorpe, Lincolnshire, about 1655, was the son of the Rev. John Hallifax. "On 20 Feb. 1670 he entered Brasenose College, Oxford, as a servitor, but was admitted a scholar of Corpus Christi College in April 1674, and a fellow in December 1682. He graduated...
Another 57 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Halyfax Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Halyfax family

Searching for a better life, many English families migrated to British colonies. Unfortunately, the majority of them traveled under extremely harsh conditions: overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the ocean. For those families that arrived safely, modest prosperity was attainable, and many went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the new colonies. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Halyfax or a variant listed above: Lidia and Simon Halifax who settled in Barbados in 1675.



  1. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  4. ^ Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print


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