Hannah History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

In the Scottish/English Borderlands, the Strathclyde Britons were the first to use the name Hannah. It is derived from the personal names Hannah and Anna. Another possibility is that it is a religious name, taken from that of Hannah, mother of Samuel. Most likely, however, given the family's Gaelic origins is that it was an anglicized version of the Gaelic "O hAnnaigh", meaning "descendant of Annach", a byname meaning "iniquity". [1]

Early Origins of the Hannah family

The surname Hannah was first found in Wigtownshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Bhaile na h-Uige), formerly a county in southwestern Scotland, now part of the Council Area of Dumfries and Galloway, where in 1296, Gilbert de Hannethe residing in the county of Wiggetone at the time, rendered homage to King Edward I of England during his brief conquest of Scotland.

During the same year, a Gilbert Hahanith, who may or may not be the same man, was juror on an inquest concerning the succession to Elena la Zuche. The next appearance of the name is in 1424 when John of Hanna (a name that suggests that the name may have been taken from a place, rather than of Gaelic origin) was master of a ship belonging to James, King of Scotland. [1]

Further to the south in England, Hannay or Hannah is a small parish, in the union of Louth, Wold division of the hundred of Calceworth, parts of Lindsey in Lincolnshire. [2]

And East and West Hanney are in the union of Wantage, partly in the hundred of Ock, but chiefly in that of Wantage, in Berkshire. Both were traditionally in Oxfordshire. These parishes collectively date back to Saxon times when they were known as Hannige c. 956. There were listed in the Domesday Book of 1086, as Hannei and literally meant "island or land between streams, frequented by wild birds." [3]

Early History of the Hannah family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Hannah research. Another 109 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1673, 1658, 1689, 1630, 1629, 1620 and are included under the topic Early Hannah History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Hannah Spelling Variations

In Medieval times, spelling and translation were not nearly so highly developed as today. They were generally carried out according to the sound and intuition of the bearer. For that reason spelling variations are extremely common among early Scottish names. Hannah has been spelled Hannah, Hanna, Hannay, Hanney and others.

Early Notables of the Hannah family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family at this time was Gilbert Hannah of Wigtown; Sir Robert Hannay, 1st Baronet (d. 1658) of Mochrum in the Stewardry of Kirkcudbright; Sir Robert Hannay, 2nd Baronet (d. 1689); and Patrick Hannay (died 1630?) was a Scottish poet and courtier from the stewartry of Kirkcudbright. He "was probably the third son of Alexander Hannay of Kirkdale in the stewartry of Kirkcudbright. His grandfather...
Another 66 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Hannah Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Hannah family to Ireland

Some of the Hannah family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 60 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Hannah migration to the United States +

Unrest, poverty, and persecution caused thousands to look for opportunity and freedom in the North American colonies. The crossing was long, overcrowded, and unsanitary, though, and came only at great expense. Many Strathclyde families settled on the east coast of North America in communities that would form the backbone of what would become the great nations of the United States and Canada. The American War of Independence caused those who remained loyal to England to move north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. In the 20th century, Strathclyde and other Scottish families across North America began to recover their collective heritage through highland games and Clan societies. Among them:

Hannah Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Thomas Hannah, who settled in Nantasket in 1630
  • Neal Hannah, who landed in Virginia in 1654 [4]
  • Andrew Hannah, who settled in Antigua in 1679
  • George Hannah, who settled in Barbados in 1680 with his wife and two children
Hannah Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Alexander Hannah, who settled in Boston in 1766
  • Robert Hannah, who landed in South Carolina in 1772 [4]
  • Andrew Hannah, aged 40, who arrived in New York in 1774 [4]
  • Catarina Hannah, aged 26, who arrived in New York in 1774 [4]
Hannah Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Hugh Hannah, who landed in America in 1801 [4]
  • James Hannah, who arrived in America in 1801 [4]
  • A.ndrew Hannah, who arrived in Charleston, South Carolina in 1807 [4]
  • John Hannah, who arrived in Anegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1808 [4]
  • Solomon Hannah, who landed in America in 1810 [4]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Hannah migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Hannah Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • James Hannah, who landed in Canada in 1820
  • David Hannah, aged 25, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the brig "Dorcas Savage" from Belfast, Ireland
  • Mary Hannah, aged 26, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Edward Reid" in 1833

Australia Hannah migration to Australia +

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

Hannah Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Joseph Hannah, English convict from Lancaster, who was transported aboard the "Almorah" on April 1817, settling in New South Wales, Australia [5]
  • Mr. Edward F. Hannah, (b. 1823), aged 25, Cornish stone mason from Gorran Haven, Cornwall, UK travelling aboard the ship "Cheapside" arriving in Port Phillip, New South Wales, Australia on 18th August 1848 [6]
  • Mr. Edward Hannah, (b. 1823), aged 25, Cornish stone mason from Gorran Haven, Cornwall, UK departing from Plymouth on 1st May 1848 aboard the ship "Cheapside" arriving in Port Phillip, Victoria, Australia on 18th August 1848 [7]
  • George Hannah, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Duncan" in 1849 [8]
  • Andrew Hannah, Scottish convict from Glasgow, who was transported aboard the "Adelaide" on August 08, 1849, settling in Van Diemen's Land and Port Phillip, Australia [9]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Hannah 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:

Hannah Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Hannah, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Whitby" in 1841
  • W. Hannah, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Andover" in 1843
  • J Hannah, who landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1845
  • T. Hannah, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Palmyra" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 19th February 1858 [10]
  • Mr. George Hannah, (b. 1833), aged 24, British cabinet maker travelling from London aboard the ship "Roehampton" arriving in Lyttlelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 7th March 1858 [10]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Hannah (post 1700) +

  • Page Hannah (b. 1964), American television and film actress, sister of Daryl Hannah
  • Rufus Hannah (1954-2017), nicknamed Rufus the Stunt Bum, an American advocate for homeless rights
  • James Hannah (1944-2016), American lawyer and jurist, Chief Justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court (2005-2015)
  • Charley Hannah (b. 1955), American former NFL football offensive guard and defensive end
  • Robert "Hurricane" Hannah (b. 1956), American motocross racer who won seven AMA national championships
  • Howard Barry Hannah (1942-2010), American novelist and short story writer from Mississippi
  • Jack Hannah (1913-1994), American animator, writer and director of animated shorts who directed 94 animated films for Disney Studios, honored as a "Disney Legend" in 1992
  • John Alfred Hannah (1902-1991), American academic, President of Michigan State College (1941-1955)
  • John Allen "Hawg" Hannah (b. 1951), American former NFL football left guard, inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1991
  • John Peter Hannah (b. 1962), American former national security adviser to U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney
  • ... (Another 9 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. James Bruce Hannah (1901-1942), English Able Seaman from England, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking, was listed as missing and presumed killed during the evacuation of Singapore 1942 [11]
RMS Lusitania
  • Mr. Thomas Hannah, English Waiter from England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking and was recovered [12]


The Hannah 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: Per ardua ad alta
Motto Translation: Through straits to heights.


  1. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  2. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  3. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  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. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Almorah voyage to New South Wales, Australia in 1817 with 180 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/almorah/1817
  6. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 2018, May 30). Ships' Passenger Lists of Arrivals in New South Wales on (1828 - 1842, 1848 - 1849) [PDF]. Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_nsw_1838_on.pdf
  7. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retreived 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_australia_victoria.pdf
  8. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The DUNCAN 1849 . Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849Duncan.htm
  9. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2014, November 17) Adelaide voyage to Van Diemen's Land and Port Phillip, Australia in 1849 with 303 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/adelaide/1849
  10. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  11. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html
  12. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 10) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/


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