Holiday History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Among the the peoples of ancient Scotland, the first to use the name Holiday were the Strathclyde- Britons. Holiday was a name for someone who lived near the mountain called, Holy Day, in the county of Annandale. However, some sources claim the "name is derived from the slogan or war cry of the family 'a holy day, a holy day.' " [1] [2]

Early Origins of the Holiday family

The surname Holiday was first found in Annandale. "The Hallidays of Hoddom, Dumfriesshire, were an old family there, and probably gave their name to Halliday Hill in the parish of Dalton." [3]

One of the first records of the family was found in 1303, when Adam de Halide was a juror on inquest at St. Andrews. A few years later, John Halyday was an archer of the East March in 1404 and Ambrose Halyday and David Halyday were merchants in Edinburgh in 1479. [3]

Despite the general understanding that the family was Scottish in origin, early records in England, specifically the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273, list Richard Haliday in Buckinghamshire and Gerard Haliday in Suffolk. Later, the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 listed: Willelmus Haliday, Johannes Halyday, and Adam Halyday. [4] The reader should be reminded that Yorkshire's proximity to the Scottish border probably points to the aforementioned Scottish origin as the borders were extremely mercurial.

One romantic source notes: "A well-known Scottish Border Clan, who from their great animosity against the Southron are said to have adopted the war-cry or slogan of A Holy Day, (Scottice, 'a Haly Day'), because the chiefs and people of Annandale, whenever they made a raid or foray upon the Saxon border, accounted the day spent in rapine and slaughter a holy one." [5]

Early History of the Holiday family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Holiday research. Another 131 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1120, 1605, 1415, 1593, 1661, 1626, 1550, 1612, 1605, 1606, 1697, 1697, 1516, 1576, 1576, 1570, 1685, 1739, 1637, 1724, 1664, 1688, 1692, 1685, 1728, 1802 and 1728 are included under the topic Early Holiday History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Holiday Spelling Variations

Medieval Scottish names are rife with spelling variations. This is due to the fact that scribes in that era spelled according to the sound of words, rather than any set of rules. Holiday has been spelled Halliday, Haliday, Holyday, Holiday, Holliday, Halidays and many more.

Early Notables of the Holiday family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family at this time was Walter Halliday (also spelled Haliday, Halyday, and Holliday), Scottish royal minstrel at the battle of Agincourt in 1415, thought to be son of the chieftain of Annandale in Dumfries, founding member of a minstrels' guild, now known as the Worshipful Company of Musicians; Barten Holyday or Holiday (1593-1661), a clergyman, author and poet, appointed Archdeacon of Oxford by King Charles I in 1626; Sir Leonard Holliday (Hollyday or Halliday) (c. 1550-1612) founder of the East India Company, and a Lord Mayor...
Another 89 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Holiday Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Holiday family to Ireland

Some of the Holiday family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 198 words (14 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Holiday migration to the United States +

Many Scots were left with few options other than to leave their homeland for the colonies across the Atlantic. Some of these families fought to defend their newfound freedom in the American War of Independence. Others went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. The ancestors of all of these families have recently been able to rediscover their roots through Clan societies and other Scottish organizations. Among them:

Holiday Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • James Holiday, who arrived in Bermuda in 1745 [6]
Holiday Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John Holiday, who landed in New York, NY in 1817 [6]

Canada Holiday migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Holiday Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Robert Holiday, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • William Holiday, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • William Holiday, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1774
  • Ann Holiday, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1774
  • Christr Holiday, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1774
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Holiday 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:

Holiday Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Miss Jane Holiday, (b. 1843), aged 18, English domestic servant, from Kent travelling from Bristol aboard the ship "Rhea Sylvia" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 2nd May 1861 [7]

Contemporary Notables of the name Holiday (post 1700) +

  • Bob Holiday (1932-2017), American actor, best known for playing Superman in the 1966 Broadway musical It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's Superman!
  • Jrue Randall Holiday (b. 1990), American professional NBA basketball player for the Philadelphia 76ers
  • Billie Holiday (1915-1959), born Eleanora Harris, legendary American jazz singer and songwriter
  • Maria Holiday, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Kansas, 2008 [8]
  • John H. Holiday, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Missouri, 1928 [8]


The Holiday 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: Quarta saluti
Motto Translation: The fourth to health.


  1. ^ Sims, Clifford Stanley The Origin and Signification of Scottish Surnames. 1862. Print.
  2. ^ Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. Print
  3. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  4. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  5. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  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. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  8. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 26) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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