Henderson History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The age-old Pictish-Scottish family name Henderson is derived from the personal name Hendry, which is a chiefly Scottish derivative of the name Henry. There were two main branches of the Henderson family, one at Glencoe, in the lower Highlands, and one at Caithness, in the extreme north of Scotland.

Early Origins of the Henderson family

The surname Henderson was first found in Caithness, Glencoe, the Shetland Islands, Liddlesdale, and Fordell. One origin claims the Henderson family descend from Great Henry, son of King Nechtan, who was also the progenitor of the MacDonalds of Glencoe. However, the branch of the Henderson to whom this story relates also claim to have settled in the Glencoe territory many years before the Maclains or MacDonalds arrived there. This is consistent with the theory that this family are a branch of the northern family who moved south and became attached to the MacDonalds.

Generally noted as great fighters, they became bodyguards of the Chief of the MacDonalds. They were also the hereditary pipers of that Clan, sometimes referred to as the Maclains.

Later, in about 1530, there emerged another section of the Henderson Clan in the Border country of Liddesdale but the connection between this group and the main Clan is somewhat tenuous. However, it is known that many of the Highland Clans were invited, coerced or transported, sometimes as a whole sometimes as a branch, to the border country to provide better defenses against English attacks along the Border.

Early History of the Henderson family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Henderson research. Another 200 words (14 lines of text) covering the years 1692, 1511, 1494, 1494, 1583, 1646, 1638, 1430, 1506, 1460, 1500, 1420, 1430, 1510, 1590, 1510, 1638, 1600, 1606, 1865 and 1618 are included under the topic Early Henderson History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Henderson Spelling Variations

In the Middle ages, spelling and translation were not yet regulated by any general rules. spelling variations in names were common even among members of one family unit. Henderson has appeared Henderson, Henreyson, Henryson, MacKendrick and many more.

Early Notables of the Henderson family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the Clan at this time was James Henderson, of the Fordell line, who became Lord Advocate of Scotland in 1494. Perhaps the greatest Henderson of all was Alexander Henderson (c.1583-1646) of Fife, minister of Leuchars, who attended of St. Andrews University. In 1638, he drafted the National Covenant of Scotland, and is generally considered the "2nd founder," after Knox, of the Presbyterian church in Scotland. Robert Henryson (1430?-1506?) was a poet who flourished in Scotland in the period c. 1460-1500. He was...
Another 83 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Henderson Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Henderson World Ranking

In the United States, the name Henderson is the 81st most popular surname with an estimated 236,265 people with that name. [1] However, in Canada, the name Henderson is ranked the 143rd most popular surname with an estimated 23,218 people with that name. [2] And in Australia, the name Henderson is the 99th popular surname with an estimated 25,950 people with that name. [3] New Zealand ranks Henderson as 62nd with 4,993 people. [4] The United Kingdom ranks Henderson as 111st with 43,537 people. [5]

Ireland Migration of the Henderson family to Ireland

Some of the Henderson family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 129 words (9 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Henderson migration to the United States +

Faced by this persecution and the generally unstable political climate of those days, many Scots chose to leave their homeland for Ireland, Australia, and North America in search of greater opportunity and freedom. The colonies across the Atlantic were the most popular choice, but a passage there was neither cheap nor easily suffered. Passengers arrived sick and poor, but those who made it intact often found land and more tolerant societies in which to live. These brave settlers formed the backbone of the burgeoning nations of Canada and the United States. It is only this century that the ancestors of these families have begun to recover their collective identity through the patriotic highland games and Clan societies that have sprung up throughout North America. Research into early immigration and passenger lists revealed many immigrants bearing the name Henderson:

Henderson Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Alex Henderson, who settled in Virginia in 1650
  • Alex Henderson, who landed in Virginia in 1650 [6]
  • Gilbert Henderson, who arrived in Virginia in 1652 [6]
  • Henrick Henderson, who landed in Virginia in 1657 [6]
  • Patrick Henderson, who arrived in Maryland in 1663 [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Henderson Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Charles Henderson, who was banished to Virginia in 1716
  • Hugh Henderson, who arrived in New England in 1729 [6]
  • Anna Henderson, who landed in New York in 1739 [6]
  • Don Henderson, who arrived in Boston in 1766
  • Colin Henderson, who settled in Virginia in 1773
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Henderson Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Jacob Henderson, who landed in America in 1800 [6]
  • Prudence Henderson, aged 13, who arrived in New Castle or Philadelphia in 1804 [6]
  • Elenor Henderson, aged 18, who landed in New Castle or Philadelphia in 1804 [6]
  • Ann Henderson, aged 8, who arrived in New Castle or Philadelphia in 1804 [6]
  • Archibald Henderson, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1805 [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Henderson Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Hamilton McKennie Henderson, who arrived in Alabama in 1917 [6]

Canada Henderson migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Henderson Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • William Henderson, who arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1749-1752
  • Charles Henderson, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1749-1752
  • Nathaniel Henderson, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1749-1752
  • Emanl Henderson, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Margaret Henderson, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Henderson Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • George Henderson, who arrived in Canada in 1817
  • John Henderson, who arrived in Canada in 1820
  • Charlotte Henderson, aged 13, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Nancy" in 1834
  • Henry Henderson, aged 24, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Nancy" in 1834
  • Ann Jane Henderson, aged 22, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Nancy" in 1834
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Henderson migration to Australia +

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

Henderson Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Samuel Henderson, English convict who was convicted in Lancaster, Lancashire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Claudine" on 20th May 1821, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [7]
  • Mr. Joseph Henderson, British Convict who was convicted in Middlesex, England for life, transported aboard the " Dunvegan Castle" on 13th March 1830, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [8]
  • Mr. James Henderson, Scottish convict who was convicted in Edinburgh, Scotland for 14 years, transported aboard the "Burrell" on 22nd July 1830, arriving in New South Wales [9]
  • Mr. James Henderson, (b. 1809), aged 22, Scottish soldier born in Lanark, Scotland who was convicted in Dublin, Ireland for life for highway robbery, transported aboard the "Bussorah Merchant" on 16th August 1831, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [10]
  • Agnes Henderson, who arrived in Kangaroo Island aboard the ship "Buffalo" in 1836 [11]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Henderson 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:

Henderson Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • David Henderson, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • Thomas Henderson, who landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1840
  • William Henderson, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • Thomas Maxwell Henderson, aged 29, a blacksmith, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "London" in 1840
  • Catherine Henderson, aged 32, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "London" in 1840
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

West Indies Henderson migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [12]
Henderson Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Francis and William Henderson, who arrived in Barbados in 1680

Contemporary Notables of the name Henderson (post 1700) +

  • Donald Ainslie "D. A." Henderson (1928-2016), American physician, educator, and epidemiologist, best known for his tireless effort to eradicate smallpox for which he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2002) and numerous other awards
  • Brian Weir Henderson AM (1931-2021), New Zealand-born Australian radio and television personality, host of music program Bandstand, the local version of the US music program American Bandstand
  • Fletcher Henderson (1897-1952), American jazz and swing musician
  • Mario Henderson (1984-2020), American professional NFL football player who was an offensive tackle who played from 2007 to 2015
  • John Henderson (1912-2020), American college football player who played four seasons as a guard for the Texas Longhorns
  • Zachary Ryall Henderson (1955-2020), American CFL professional football player from Jena, Louisiana
  • William "Billy" Henderson (1928-2018), former American football player and coach
  • Florence Agnes Henderson (1934-2016), American actress and singer, perhaps best remembered for her role as Carol Brady on the ABC sitcom The Brady Bunch from 1969 to 1974
  • William Randall "Bill" Henderson (1926-2016), American jazz singer and actor
  • David Lee Henderson (1958-2015), nicknamed "Hendu", an American Major League Baseball player who played from 1981 to 1994, World Series Champion (1989)
  • ... (Another 275 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Empress of Ireland
  • Mr. George Henderson (1874-1914), Canadian First Class Passenger from Montreal, Quebec, Canada who survived the sinking on the Empress of Ireland [13]
Halifax Explosion
  • Mrs. Jane  Henderson (1881-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [14]
  • Mr. Harry  Henderson (1882-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [14]
HMAS Sydney II
  • Mr. William Laurence Douglas Henderson (1920-1941), Australian Stoker from Mosman Park, Western Australia, Australia, who sailed into battle aboard HMAS Sydney II and died in the sinking [15]
HMS Dorsetshire
  • John Bell Henderson (d. 1945), British Stoker 1st Class aboard the HMS Dorsetshire when she was struck by air bombers and sunk; he died in the sinking [16]
HMS Hood
  • Mr. John Henderson (b. 1922), English Signalman serving for the Royal Navy from Wallsend, Northumberland, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [17]
HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. William H Henderson, British Leading Stoker, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [18]
  • Mr. Ralph C Henderson, British Leading Air Fitter  FAA, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [18]
  • Mr. Henry N Henderson, British Petty Officer, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [18]
HMS Repulse
  • Mr. George John Henderson, British Canteen Assistant NAAFI, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and died in the sinking [19]
Ibrox disaster
  • Adam Henderson (b. 1971), Scottish football supporter, from Dumbartonshire who was at the Ibrox disaster on 2nd January 1971 when a human crush among the crowd killed 66 and injured 200 people he died of his injuries [20]
Lady of the Lake
  • Mr. David Henderson (b. 1814), Irish labourer from Limavady, Northern Ireland who sailed aboard the "Lady of the Lake" from Greenock, Scotland on 8th April 1833 to Quebec, Canada when the ship hit ice and sunk of the coast of Newfoundland on the 11th May 1833 and he died in the sinking
RMS Lusitania
  • Mr. John Henderson, English First Waiter from England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking [21]
  • Mrs. Violet Alice Henderson, Canadian 2nd Class passenger from Montréal, Quebec, Canada, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking [21]
  • Master Harris Huntley Henderson, Canadian 2nd Class passenger from Montréal, Quebec, Canada, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking [21]
SS Alcoa Puritan
  • J.W. Henderson, American Cook from Mobile, Alabama, who was working aboard the SS Alcoa Puritan traveling from Port of Spain, Trinidad to Mobile, Alabama when it was torpedoed by U-boat U-507; he survived the sinking [22]
USS Arizona
  • Mr. William Walter Henderson, American Seaman Second Class working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he died in the sinking [23]


The Henderson 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: Sola virtus nobilitat
Motto Translation: Virtue alone ennobles.


Suggested Readings for the name Henderson +

  • The Olden Days by LaVerne Hutchens Bish.
  • The Joh Family; Plus Allied Lines of Runkle, Humbert, Wade, Henderson by Crystal Pauline Randel Walters.

  1. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  2. ^ https://forebears.io/surnames/
  3. ^ https://forebears.io/australia/surnames
  4. ^ https://forebears.io/new-zealand/surnames
  5. ^ https://www.surnamemap.eu/unitedkingdom/surnames_ranking.php?p=10
  6. ^ 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)
  7. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 17th February 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/claudine
  8. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 12th August 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/dunvegan-castle
  9. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 5th November 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/burrell
  10. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 12th November 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/bussorah-merchant
  11. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) HMS BUFFALO 1836. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1836Buffalo.htm
  12. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  13. ^ Commemoration Empress of Ireland 2014. (Retrieved 2014, June 16) . Retrieved from http://www.empress2014.ca/seclangen/listepsc1.html
  14. ^ Halifax Explosion Book of Remembrance | Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. (Retrieved 2014, June 23) . Retrieved from https://maritimemuseum.novascotia.ca/what-see-do/halifax-explosion/halifax-explosion-book-remembrance
  15. ^ HMAS Sydney II, Finding Sydney Foundation - Roll of Honour. (Retrieved 2014, April 24) . Retrieved from http://www.findingsydney.com/roll.asp
  16. ^ Force Z Survivors HMS Dorsetshire Crew List, (Retrieved 2018, February 13th), https://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listdorsetshirecrew.html
  17. ^ 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 http://www.hmshood.com/crew/memorial/roh_24may41.htm
  18. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html
  19. ^ HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listrepulsecrew.html
  20. ^ Bradford City Football Club In memory (retrieved 22nd March 2021). Retrieved from https://www.bradfordcityafc.com/club/in-memoriam/
  21. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 6) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/
  22. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_Alcoa_Puritan_(1941) - (Retrieved 2018, February 8th)
  23. ^ Pearl Harbour: USS Arizona Casualties List Pearl Harbour December 7, 1941. (Retrieved 2018, July 31st). Retrieved from http://pearl-harbor.com/arizona/casualtylist.html


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