Hillaray History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Hillaray was brought to England in the wave of migration that followed the Norman Conquest of 1066. Hillaray is based on the medieval given name Hillary, which was originally derived from the Latin personal name Hilarius, which means cheerful glad, happy and joyful.

"Fr Hilaire, Hilari, Lat hilaris ‘cheerful’, the name of several saints, in particular St Hilarius of Poitiers (d. 368). The name was popular in France and not uncommon in England." [1]

Early Origins of the Hillaray family

The surname Hillaray was first found in Worcester where the first record of the name was in Latin and as a forename: Hilarius Brunus who was listed in the Pipe Rolls of 1177. Following this, we found Richard Ilarie in the Assize Rolls for Staffordshire in 1227 and later, Willelmus Hillar (Ylarius) in the Pipe Rolls for Worcester in 1230. Rober and William Hillari were listed in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1275 in Lincolnshire and the Assize Rolls for Staffordshire in 1283. [1]

Hilary ( fl. 1125), was a medieval Latin poet, who "is supposed to have been a native of England from the fact that one of his poems narrates the life of Eva, an English recluse, who died in Anjou, as well as from various allusions in other of his poems, some of which are addressed to English friends." [2]

Hilary (d. 1169) was Bishop of Chichester, nominated to the bishopric in 1146, and consecrated by Archbishop Theobald at Canterbury 3 August 1147. "On the deposition of William, Archbishop of York, in the same year, the majority of the chapter chose Hilary, but Pope Eugenius III preferred Henry Murdac, the candidate of the minority. Hilary seems to have gone to France at this time, and to have endeavoured to defend King Stephen before the pope." [2]

Early History of the Hillaray family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Hillaray research. Another 85 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1206, 1763, 1722, 1734, 1752, 1758 and 1763 are included under the topic Early Hillaray History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Hillaray Spelling Variations

Before the last few hundred years the English language had no fixed system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations occurred commonly in Anglo Norman surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Hillaray were recorded, including Hillary, Hillery and others.

Early Notables of the Hillaray family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was William Hillary (d. 1763), an English physician, "was a pupil of Boerhaave at Leyden, where he graduated M.D. in 1722, writing a dissertation on...
Another 31 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Hillaray Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Hillaray family

The unstable environment in England at this time caused numerous families to board ships and leave in search of opportunity and freedom from persecution abroad in places like Ireland, Australia, and particularly the New World. The voyage was extremely difficult, however, and only taken at great expense. The cramped conditions and unsanitary nature of the vessels caused many to arrive diseased and starving, not to mention destitute from the enormous cost. Still opportunity in the emerging nations of Canada and the United States was far greater than at home and many went on to make important contributions to the cultures of their adopted countries. An examination of many early immigration records reveals that people bearing the name Hillaray arrived in North America very early: Susan Hillery, who settled in Virginia in 1653; Nicholas Hillary, who settled in Nevis in 1654; William Hillary, who settled in Virginia in 1654; John Hillary, who settled in Charles Town in 1767.



  1. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print


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