Show ContentsHannay History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the Hannay family lived among the Strathclyde people of the Scottish/English Borderlands. Their name 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 Hannay family

The surname Hannay 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 Hannay family

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

Hannay Spelling Variations

The variation in the spelling of Medieval names is a result of the lack of spelling rules in the English language prior to the last few hundred years. Before that time, scribes spelled according to sound, often varying the spelling of name within a single document. Hannay has appeared as Hannah, Hanna, Hannay, Hanney and others.

Early Notables of the Hannay 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 Hannay Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Hannay family to Ireland

Some of the Hannay family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 87 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Hannay migration to the United States +

As the persecution of Clan families continued, they sailed for North America in increasing numbers. In most cases, they found the freedom and opportunity they sought. Land was often available and the American War of Independence allowed Scots an opportunity to solidify their independence from the English crown. These settlers and their ancestors went on to play essential roles in the forging of the nations of the United States and Canada. Among them:

Hannay Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John and Elizabeth Hannay, who arrived in New York in 1774
  • John Hannay, aged 7, who landed in New York in 1774 [4]
  • Elizabeth Hannay, aged 7, who arrived in New York in 1774 [4]
Hannay Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Alexander Hannay, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1833 [4]
  • Andrew Hannay, who landed in Washington County, Pennsylvania in 1834 [4]
  • Annie M. Hannay, aged 21, who settled in America, in 1893
  • Thomas S. Hannay, aged 48, who landed in America, in 1895
Hannay Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Thomas Hannay, aged 30, who immigrated to the United States from Bridge of Allan, in 1903
  • Guy Hannay, aged 17, who landed in America from Glasgow, Scotland, in 1904
  • Jane Hannay, aged 67, who immigrated to America from Glasgow, Scotland, in 1904
  • Blanche Hannay, aged 24, who immigrated to the United States from Chelmsfort, England, in 1904
  • Margaret Hannay, aged 49, who landed in America from Broon, Scotland, in 1906
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Hannay 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:

Hannay Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Thomas Hannay, (b. 1840), aged 20, British farm labourer travelling from Bristol aboard the ship "Matoaka" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 2nd December 1860 [5]

Contemporary Notables of the name Hannay (post 1700) +

  • Allen Burroughs Hannay (1892-1983), United States federal judge
  • James Hannay (1827-1873), Scottish novelist, journalist and diplomat born at Dumfries on 17 Feb. 1827 where his father, David Hannay (1794-1864), was a member of the Speculative Society at Edinburgh University, 1813-14, and author of 'Ned Allen, or the Past Age,' 1849 [6]
  • James Ballantyne Hannay (1855-1931), Scottish chemist
  • The Rt Rev Thomas Hannay DD, MA, BA (1887-1970), Anglican priest, Bishop of Argyll and The Isles (1942), Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church
  • Sir Samuel Hannay (1772-1842), 4th Baronet
  • Robert Kerr Hannay FRSE (1867-1940), Scottish historian, Historiographer Royal of Scotland
  • Barbara Hannay, Australian author of romance novels
  • Sir Samuel Hannay (b. 1790), 3rd Baronet, English MP for Camelford
  • David Hugh Alexander Hannay GCMG, CH (b. 1935), Baron Hannay of Chiswick, British diplomat
  • Alastair Hannay (b. 1932), English Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Oslo
  • ... (Another 1 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Hood
  • Mr. James D Hannay (b. 1916), Scottish Stoker 2nd Class serving for the Royal Navy from Dundee, Angus, Scotland, who sailed into battle and died in the HMS Hood sinking [7]
HMS Repulse
  • Mr. Alfred Hannay (b. 1918), English Ordinary Seaman from Five Lane Ends, Bradford, England, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse (1941) and survived the sinking [8]

The Hannay 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. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from
  6. Wikisource contributors. "Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900." Wikisource . Wikisource , 4 Jun. 2018. Web. 30 June 2020
  7. H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from
  8. HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from on Facebook