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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016


The origins of the Head name lie with England's ancient Anglo-Saxon culture. It comes from when the family lived near a hill or near the source of a stream or the head of a valley. The name was originally derived from the Old English heafod, which meant head. The surname Head belongs to the class of topographic surnames, which were given to people who resided near physical features such as hills, streams, churches, or types of trees. Head may have also been a nickname given to someone with a large head or with some other peculiarity of the head.

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Before the last few hundred years, the English language had no fast system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations are commonly found in early Anglo-Saxon surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Head were recorded, including Head, Heade, Heads, Heed and others.

First found in Norfolk, but we must look to Nottinghamshire to find the first listing of the name, Thomas del Heved who was listed there in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273. [1] The same roll has lists the spelling as Hedde and the old Anglo-Saxon spelling Heved. (BP)


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Head research. Another 151 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1275, 1737, 1609, 1689, 1667, 1679, 1637 and 1686 are included under the topic Early Head History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 53 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Head Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Head family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 31 words (2 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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To escape oppression and starvation at that time, many English families left for the "open frontiers" of the New World with all its perceived opportunities. In droves people migrated to the many British colonies, those in North America in particular, paying high rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Although many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, those who did see the shores of North America perceived great opportunities before them. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Research into various historical records revealed some of first members of the Head family emigrate to North America:

Head Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • William Head, who arrived in Virginia in 1622
  • James Head who settled in Virginia in 1636
  • Grace Head settled in Virginia in 1654
  • Grace Head, who landed in Virginia in 1654
  • Joseph Head, who arrived in Maryland in 1654


Head Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • John Head settled in Virginia in 1774
  • William Head settled in Maryland in 1774
  • John Head settled in Nantucket Massachusetts in 1775

Head Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Benjamin Head, aged 38, arrived in Vermont in 1812
  • John Head, who arrived in Maryland in 1845
  • Martin Head, aged 22, landed in Missouri in 1848
  • Nathaniel Head, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850
  • Bridget Head, aged 30, landed in New York in 1854


Head Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • Peter Head, who landed in Canada in 1831

Head Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • George Head arrived in Port Misery aboard the ship "Duchess of Northumberland" in 1839
  • Mary Ann Head arrived in Port Misery aboard the ship "Duchess of Northumberland" in 1839
  • Elsa Head arrived in Port Misery aboard the ship "Duchess of Northumberland" in 1839
  • Eliza Head arrived in Port Misery aboard the ship "Duchess of Northumberland" in 1839
  • Matilda Head arrived in Port Misery aboard the ship "Duchess of Northumberland" in 1839


Head Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • Edward Head landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • Edward Head, aged 26, a farm labourer, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Martha Ridgeway" in 1840
  • Sarah Head, aged 23, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Martha Ridgeway" in 1840
  • John Head, aged 32, a labourer, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Steinwarder" in 1864
  • Louisa Head, aged 31, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Steinwarder" in 1864


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  • Luther Dale Head (b. 1982), American professional basketball player
  • Jesse Head (b. 1983), American actor, best known for his role on the Olsen twins' sitcom So Little Time
  • Edith Head (1897-1981), American costume designer who won eight Academy Awards
  • Doris R. Head (b. 1871), American Democrat politician, Deputy sheriff; Mayor of Princeton, Indiana, 1914-18
  • Daniel O. Head, American politician, Mayor of Kenosha, Wisconsin, 1912-14
  • Chris T. Head, American Republican politician, Member of Virginia State House of Delegates 17th District; Elected 2011
  • Charles Head, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Kentucky, 1960
  • Carey Head, American Libertarian politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from North Carolina 12th District, 2002
  • C. M. Head, American politician, Member of Georgia State House of Representatives from Cobb County, 1923-24
  • Albert Head, American politician, Speaker of the Iowa State House of Representatives, 1886-87

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  • The Head Family According to Vital Record of New Hampshire by Julia E. Head.
  • The Head Family According to Vital Records of Vermont by Julia E. Head.
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  1. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)

Other References

  1. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  2. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  3. Burke, Sir Bernard. Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry: Including American Families with British Ancestry. (2 Volumes). London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  4. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  5. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  6. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  7. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  8. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  9. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  10. Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
  11. ...

The Head Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Head Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 27 October 2015 at 10:46.

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