Show ContentsHolford History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The lineage of the name Holford begins with the Anglo-Saxon tribes in Britain. It is a result of when they lived in Holford, a place-name found in Somerset and Sussex. The place-name is derived from the Old English elements hol, which means hollow or valley, and ford, a shallow place where a river may be crossed by wading. Fords were very important in medieval England, as bridges were very expensive to both build and maintain. Any place where there was a ford across a river was bound to become a settlement of one sort or another, especially if it was a long way to the next ford up or down the river. In this particular case, the place-name Holford means "ford across the river in a valley."

Early Origins of the Holford family

The surname Holford was first found in West Somerset in the hundred of Whitley at Holford, a village and civil parish that dates back to the Domesday Book of 1086 where it was listed as Holeforde. The place name literally meant "hollow ford, ford in a hollow," from the Old English words hol + ford. [1] The River Holford which runs through the village flows to the sea at Kilve.

Early History of the Holford family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Holford research. Another 202 words (14 lines of text) covering the years 1587, 1717, 1541 and 1588 are included under the topic Early Holford History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Holford Spelling Variations

Only recently has spelling become standardized in the English language. As the English language evolved in the Middle Ages, the spelling of names changed also. The name Holford has undergone many spelling variations, including Holford, Holfords and others.

Early Notables of the Holford family (pre 1700)

Notables of this surname at this time include: Lady Elizabeth Holford, who in 1717, gave £500 in support of a school in Stanton St. John in Oxfordshire. [2] Blessed Thomas...
Another 30 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Holford Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Holford Ranking

In the United States, the name Holford is the 14,297th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [3]

United States Holford migration to the United States +

To escape the unstable social climate in England of this time, many families boarded ships for the New World with the hope of finding land, opportunity, and greater religious and political freedom. Although the voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, those families that arrived often found greater opportunities and freedoms than they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make significant contributions to the rapidly developing colonies in which they settled. Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name Holford were among those contributors:

Holford Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Margtt Holford, who landed in Virginia in 1665-1666 [4]
  • Thomas Holford, who arrived in Virginia in 1668 [4]
Holford Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Eleanor Holford, who settled in New England in 1706
  • Thomas Holford, who settled in Maryland in 1725
  • Elizabeth Holford, who arrived in Annapolis, Maryland in 1729

Australia Holford migration to Australia +

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

Holford Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Thomas Holford, English convict who was convicted in London, England for life, transported aboard the "Asiatic" on 5th June 1819, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [5]
  • John Holford, aged 28, a carpenter, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Telegraph"

New Zealand Holford 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:

Holford Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Francis Holford, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Evening Star" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 14th October 1860 [6]
  • Joseph Holford, aged 32, a potter, who arrived in Otago aboard the ship "Dallam Tower" in 1875
  • Jane Holford, aged 29, who arrived in Otago aboard the ship "Dallam Tower" in 1875
  • William Holford, aged 8, who arrived in Otago aboard the ship "Dallam Tower" in 1875
  • Thomas Holford, aged 4, who arrived in Otago aboard the ship "Dallam Tower" in 1875
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Holford (post 1700) +

  • William Dwight "Bill" Holford Sr. (b. 1919), American recording engineer and record producer
  • Castello Holford, American author, best known for writing Aristopia in 1895
  • William G. Holford, American co-founder of Lawrence & Holford, an architectural firm based in Oregon in 1913
  • L. Dean Holford, American Republican politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Texas 14th District, 1976 [7]
  • Lady Susannah Holford (b. 1864), née Croft, English wife of Sir George Holford
  • William "Will" Holford (b. 1862), English footballer who played for Stoke (1886-1889)
  • Margaret Holford (1778-1852), English poet and translator
  • Robert Stayner Holford (1808-1892), English landowner and politician, Member of Parliament for East Gloucestershire; he rebuilt Westonbirt House and founded the Westonbirt Arboretum
  • Thomas "Tom" Holford (1878-1964), English footballer
  • Michael Oliver Holford (b. 1982), English rugby union player for Nottingham
  • ... (Another 11 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

  1. Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  3. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  4. 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)
  5. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 14th July 2020). Retrieved from
  6. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from
  7. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 26) . Retrieved from on Facebook