Show ContentsHighland History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

There are many Irish surnames being used today in forms that are quite different than their original, ancient forms. Highland originally appeared in Gaelic as O hUallachain, which is derived from the word "uallach," which means "proud."

Early Origins of the Highland family

The surname Highland was first found in Thomond (Irish: Tuadh Mumhan), literally North Thomond, the pre-Norman Kingdom of Thomond, since divided between counties Limerick, Tipperary and Clare, where they held a family seat from ancient times.

Early History of the Highland family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Highland research. Another 92 words (7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Highland History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Highland Spelling Variations

Many spelling variations of the surname Highland can be found in the archives. One reason for these variations is that ancient scribes and church officials recorded names as they were pronounced, often resulting in a single person being recorded under several different spellings. The different spellings that were found include Holohan, O'Holohan, Mulholland, Highland, Hoolohan, Houlihan, Hooligan, Whelton, Oulihan, Oulahen, Whoolahan and many more.

Early Notables of the Highland family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Highland Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Highland Ranking

In the United States, the name Highland is the 11,059th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [1]

United States Highland migration to the United States +

A great mass of Ireland's native population left the island in the 19th century, seeking relief from various forms of social, religious, and economic discrimination. This Irish exodus was primarily to North America. If the migrants survived the long ocean journey, many unfortunately would find more discrimination in the colonies of British North America and the fledgling United States of America. These newly arrived Irish were, however, wanted as a cheap source of labor for the many large agricultural and industrial projects that were essential to the development of what would become two of the wealthiest nations in the western world. Early immigration and passenger lists indicate many people bearing the Highland name:

Highland Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Highland, who landed in Virginia in 1657 [2]
  • John Highland, who arrived in Maryland in 1665 [2]
Highland Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Patrick Highland, aged 28, who landed in Mobile, Ala in 1849 [2]
  • Conner Highland, who arrived in Mobile County, Ala in 1851 [2]
  • James Highland, who landed in Indiana in 1852 [2]
  • Ole Highland, aged 20, who arrived in Illinois in 1862 [2]

Australia Highland migration to Australia +

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

Highland Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. William Highland, (b. 1821), aged 19, Irish ploughman who was convicted in Kingston, Ontario, Canada for 14 years for desertion from the army, transported aboard the "Brothers" on 28th September 1839, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [3]
  • Thomas Highland, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Lysander" in 1840 [4]
  • Miriam Louisa Highland, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Lysander" in 1840 [4]

New Zealand Highland 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:

Highland Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • A. Highland, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Wild Duck" in 1861

Contemporary Notables of the name Highland (post 1700) +

  • Rob Highland, American television director, best known for his work on Barbaro: A Nation's Horse
  • Christel Highland, American set costumer
  • Virgil L. Highland, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from West Virginia, 1904; Member of Republican National Committee from West Virginia, 1916-28 [5]
  • Ronald L. Highland, American Republican politician, Chair of Wabaunsee County Republican Party, 2011 [5]
  • George Highland, American politician, Mayor of Atascadero, California, 1995-96 [5]
  • Charles D. Highland, American Democratic Party politician, Elected Kentucky State House of Representatives 69th District 1955 [5]
  • Cecil B. Highland Jr., American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from West Virginia, 1960 [5]
  • Cecil B. Highland, American politician, Member of West Virginia State Senate 2nd District, 1925-28 [5]
  • Highland "Dobby" Dobson OD (1942-2020), Jamaican reggae singer and record producer

Monongah Mine
  • Mr. Patrick Highland (b. 1881), Italian coal miner who was in mine 8 at the Monongah mine on 6th December 1907 when it exploded and collapsed; he died [6]

  1. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  2. 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)
  3. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 5th November 2020). Retrieved from
  4. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) LYSANDER 1840. Retrieved from
  5. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 20) . Retrieved from
  6. Monongah Mining Disaster retrieved on 8th August 2021. (Retrieved from on Facebook