Handy History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Handy is an ancient Anglo-Saxon name. It was a name given to a person who was a person who is good with their hands, in other words, a handyman as the name was originally derived from the Old English hondi, which meant "skilled with his hands." A broad and miscellaneous class of surnames, nickname surnames referred to a characteristic of the first person who used the name. They can describe the bearer's favored style of clothing, appearance, habits, or character.

Early Origins of the Handy family

The surname Handy was first found in Lancashire where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.

Early History of the Handy family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Handy research. Another 60 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Handy History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Handy Spelling Variations

One relatively recent invention that did much to standardize English spelling was the printing press. However, before its invention even the most literate people recorded their names according to sound rather than spelling. The spelling variations under which the name Handy has appeared include Handy, Handie, Handey, Handye and others.

Early Notables of the Handy family (pre 1700)

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


United States Handy migration to the United States +

At this time, the shores of the New World beckoned many English families that felt that the social climate in England was oppressive and lacked opportunity for change. Thousands left England at great expense in ships that were overcrowded and full of disease. A great portion of these settlers never survived the journey and even a greater number arrived sick, starving, and without a penny. The survivors, however, were often greeted with greater opportunity than they could have experienced back home. These English settlers made significant contributions to those colonies that would eventually become the United States and Canada. An examination of early immigration records and passenger ship lists revealed that people bearing the name Handy arrived in North America very early:

Handy Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Samuel Handy who settled in Virginia in 1635
  • Samuel Handy, aged 25, who arrived in Virginia in 1635 [1]
  • John Handy, who landed in Massachusetts in 1638 [1]
  • Hester Handy, who settled in Virginia in 1663
  • Row Handy, who landed in Virginia in 1666 [1]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Handy Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John and Mary Handy with their one child settled in Barstable Massachusetts in 1822
  • Mary Handy, aged 20, who landed in Barnstable, Massachusetts in 1822 [1]
  • R H Handy, who arrived in San Franansco, California in 1851 [1]
  • George Handy, who arrived in San Francisco, Cala in 1851 [1]

Canada Handy migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Handy Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Miss. Catherine Handy, aged 4 who was emigrating through Grosse Isle Quarantine Station, Quebec aboard the ship "Sisters" departing 22nd April 1847 from Liverpool, England; the ship arrived on 20th June 1847 but she died on board [2]
  • Mr. John Handy, aged 8 who was emigrating through Grosse Isle Quarantine Station, Quebec aboard the ship "Sisters" departing 22nd April 1847 from Liverpool, England; the ship arrived on 20th June 1847 but he died on board [2]
  • Mrs. Mary Handy, aged 35 who was emigrating through Grosse Isle Quarantine Station, Quebec aboard the ship "Sisters" departing 22nd April 1847 from Liverpool, England; the ship arrived on 20th June 1847 but she died on board [2]

Australia Handy migration to Australia +

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

Handy Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Sarah Handy, aged 60, a farm servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Oriental,"

New Zealand Handy 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:

Handy Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • J Handy, who landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1840
  • Mr. John Handy, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Mary Ann" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 24th September 1858, en route to New Plymouth [3]
  • Mrs. Mary Handy, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Mary Ann" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 24th September 1858, en route to New Plymouth [3]
  • Miss Selina Handy, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Mary Ann" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 24th September 1858, en route to New Plymouth [3]
  • Mr. Phillip Handy, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Mary Ann" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 24th September 1858, en route to New Plymouth [3]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Handy (post 1700) +

  • James Handy, American film actor, best known for his work on Jumanji (1995), Unbreakable (2000) and The Rocketeer (1991)
  • William Christopher "W.C." Handy (1873-1958), American songwriter, the "Father of the Blues"
  • Jam Handy (1886-1983), American bronze medalist for swimming at the 1904 Olympic games
  • General Thomas Troy Handy (1892-1982), American Deputy Commander in Chief NATO Forces Europe (1952-1953) [4]
  • Henry Jamison "Jam" Handy, American Olympic athlete who won medals for swimming and a leader in the field of commercial audio and visual communications
  • Henry M. Handy, American politician, U.S. Consular Agent in Honfleur, 1897-98 [5]
  • Gail Handy (1898-1970), American Republican politician, Member of Michigan State House of Representatives from Berrien County 2nd District, 1939-42, 1959-64; Defeated, 1942, 1944, 1948, 1950, 1952, 1964 [5]
  • Frederick H. Handy, American Democrat politician, Candidate for Presidential Elector for Pennsylvania, 1928 [5]
  • Fred C. Handy, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from California, 1924 [5]
  • Bolling Hall Handy (b. 1891), American Democrat politician, Lawyer [5]
  • ... (Another 15 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


  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. ^ Charbonneau, André, and Doris Drolet-Dubé. A Register of Deceased Persons at Sea and on Grosse Île in 1847. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, 1997. ISBN: 0-660-198/1-1997E (p. 78)
  3. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  4. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2012, March 5) Thomas Handy. Retrieved from http://generals.dk/general/Handy/Thomas_Troy/USA.html
  5. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 9) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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