Hillstead History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the bearers of the Hillstead family name are thought have lived in ancient Anglo-Saxon England. They were first found in Halstead, a place name found in Essex, Kent, and Leicestershire. The place name is derived from the Old English terms heald, which meant refuge or shelter, and stede, which meant place. The name as a whole means "place of shelter," and probably refers to a place which was well sheltered from the elements. The family name would have meant "dweller at a place of refuge." There is a second origin for this name, making it a polygenetic surname. It may also be occupational, referring to a "worker at the hall buildings," or a person who took care of livestock.

Early Origins of the Hillstead family

The surname Hillstead was first found in Essex where town and civil parish located in Braintree District. The Domesday Book offers two listing for the place Halstead. The first was listed as Haltesteda [1] in Essex, land held by William de Warenne and part of the Hundred of Hinckford. The land held 2 hides (land enough for two households) less 4 acres where 30 free men lived before the Conquest. Over in Leicestershire, the village Elstede [1] was listed in the same reference as land held by the King, part of Allexton and was 3 carucates of land, less 2 bovates; in other words much smaller than the Essex village. [2] To complicate things more, Halstead is a village and civil parish in the Sevenoaks District of Kent, but this village is not listed in the Domesday Book.

Early History of the Hillstead family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Hillstead research. Another 94 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1181, 1794 and 1878 are included under the topic Early Hillstead History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Hillstead Spelling Variations

Until quite recently, the English language has lacked a definite system of spelling rules. Consequently, Anglo-Saxon surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. Changes in Anglo-Saxon names were influenced by the evolution of the English language, as it incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other languages. Although Medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, so it is common to find one person referred to by several different spellings of his surname, even the most literate people varied the spelling of their own names. Variations of the name Hillstead include Halstead, Halsted and others.

Early Notables of the Hillstead family (pre 1700)

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

Migration of the Hillstead family

Searching for a better life, many English families migrated to British colonies. Unfortunately, the majority of them traveled under extremely harsh conditions: overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the ocean. For those families that arrived safely, modest prosperity was attainable, and many went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the new colonies. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Hillstead or a variant listed above: John Halstead who arrived in New York State in 1775; David, and Joseph Halstead arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1856; George Halsted settled in Virginia in 1731..

  1. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)

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