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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2015

Origins Available: English, German, Jewish

Where did the English Heller family come from? What is the English Heller family crest and coat of arms? When did the Heller family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Heller family history?

The name Heller was carried to England in the enormous movement of people that followed the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Heller family lived in Devon. This name is, however, not a reference to that area, but to the family's place of residence prior to their emigration to England with the Norman Conquest of 1066, St. Hellier, near Rouen, Normandy.


Endless spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled Hellier, Helliar, Helyar, Hellyer and others.

First found in Devon where they held a family seat from very early times and were granted lands by Duke William of Normandy, their liege Lord, for their distinguished assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Heller research. Another 208 words(15 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Heller History in all our PDF Extended History products.


More information is included under the topic Early Heller Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


To escape the political and religious persecution within England at the time, many English families left for the various British colonies abroad. The voyage was extremely difficult, though, and the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving. But for those who made it, the trip was most often worth it. Many of the families who arrived went on to make valuable contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Heller or a variant listed above:

Heller Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Hans Atam Heller, who arrived in New York in 1709
  • Wolff Heller, who arrived in New York in 1709
  • Rudolph Heller, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1728
  • Christopher Heller, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1738
  • Johann Christopher Heller, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1738

Heller Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Heinr Heller, who landed in America in 1818
  • Peter Heller, who landed in North America in 1837
  • August Heller, who arrived in Baltimore, Maryland in 1839
  • Augustus Heller, who landed in Baltimore, Maryland in 1839
  • George Phillip Heller, aged 29, arrived in Missouri in 1840


  • Joseph Heller (1923-1999), contemporary American writer, who became famous through his novel "Catch-22"
  • Steven Heller (b. 1950), American art director, journalist, critic, author and editor
  • Amos Arthur Heller (1867-1944), American botanist
  • Dean Arthur Heller (b. 1960), American politician, United States Senator from Nevada (2011-)
  • Edmund Heller (1875-1939), American zoologist, President of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (1935-1936) and (1937-1938)
  • Bruno Heller (b. 1960), English BAFTA Award nominated screenwriter, best known as the creator of the CBS television series The Mentalist
  • Ágnes Heller (b. 1929), Hungarian philosopher, one of the world’s foremost Marxist philosophers
  • Lukas Heller (1930-1988), German screenwriter
  • Erich Heller (1911-1990), British essayist
  • Franz André Heller (b. 1947), Austrian artist, author, poet, singer, songwriter and actor



  • The History of Louis Heller of Dunn County, Wisconsin, and His Descendants by James L. Heller.

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: Pro republica semper
Motto Translation: For the state always.


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  1. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  2. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  3. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  4. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  5. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  6. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
  7. Innes, Thomas and Learney. The Tartans of the Clans and Families of Scotland 1st Edition. Edinburgh: W & A. K. Johnston Limited, 1938. Print.
  8. 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.
  9. Sanders, Joanne McRee Edition. English Settlers in Barbados 1637-1800. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  10. Crispin, M. Jackson and Leonce Mary. Falaise Roll Recording Prominent Companions of William Duke of Normandy at the Conquest of England. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  11. ...

The Heller Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Heller 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 13 November 2014 at 16:21.

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