Hollis History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Hollis is a name whose history is connected to the ancient Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from when the Hollis family once lived near a field of holly having derived from the word for holly in the language of the time. In Old English the word for holly is holegn, or possibly holen, or even holen. The original bearer of the name lived near a patch of holly noted for its fecundity. (Bardsely)

While the name is generally accepted to be Anglo-Saxon, one source claims that it originated in Normandy as the Magni Rotuli Scaccarii Normanniae records Robert de Holis, Normandy, 1198. [1]

Adding the "n" as in Hollins, was quite common as both refer to the "holly" origin. [2]

Early Origins of the Hollis family

The surname Hollis was first found in Worcester, where Adam atte Holies, atte Holye was listed in the Subsidy Rolls in 1275 and 1327. A few years later, Robert del Holins was found in Yorkshire in 1297 and Nicholas del Holyn was listed in the Subsidy Rolls there in 1301. John in the Holls was in the Subsidy Rolls for Suffolk in 1327 and Richard del Holyes was in the Subsidy Rolls for Staffordshire in 1332. [2]

The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 included: Willelmus del Holyns; Alicia del Holyns; Johannes Holyn; Johannes Holvns; and Johannes del Holyns. [3]

"Hollins was the name of a firm of potters a century ago in Stoke-on-Trent, [Staffordshire] where the name still remains." [4]

Early History of the Hollis family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Hollis research. Another 117 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1540, 1711, 1694, 1534, 1535, 1577, 1619, 1471, 1542, 1595, 1666, 1633, 1689, 1564, 1637, 1599, 1680, 1642, 1607, 1675, 1640, 1642, 1627 and 1690 are included under the topic Early Hollis History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Hollis Spelling Variations

Sound was what guided spelling in the essentially pre-literate Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Also, before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Therefore, spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Hollis family name include Hollis, Holles, Hollys, Hollyes, Holleis, Hollies and others.

Early Notables of the Hollis family (pre 1700)

Notables of this surname at this time include: Sir William Holles (or Hollyes) (1471-1542), Lord Mayor of London; John Holles, 2nd Earl of Clare (1595-1666), an English nobleman; Gilbert Holles, 3rd Earl of Clare (1633-1689); John Holles, 1st Earl of Clare (1564-1637), an English nobleman; Denzil Holles, 1st Baron Holles PC (1599-1680), an English statesman and writer, best known as...
Another 59 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Hollis Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Hollis Ranking

In the United States, the name Hollis is the 1,126th most popular surname with an estimated 27,357 people with that name. [5] However, in New Zealand, the name Hollis is ranked the 866th most popular surname with an estimated 846 people with that name. [6]


United States Hollis migration to the United States +

For political, religious, and economic reasons, thousands of English families boarded ships for Ireland, Canada, the America colonies, and many of smaller tropical colonies in the hope of finding better lives abroad. Although the passage on the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving, those families that survived the trip often went on to make valuable contributions to those new societies to which they arrived. Early immigrants bearing the Hollis surname or a spelling variation of the name include:

Hollis Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John and Edith Hollis, who settled in Virginia in 1623
  • Edith Hollis, who arrived in Virginia in 1623 [7]
  • John Hollis, who arrived in Maryland in 1633 [7]
  • Jon Hollis, who arrived in Virginia in 1642 [7]
  • Thomas Hollis, who landed in Virginia in 1648 [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Hollis Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Humphrey Hollis, who arrived in New York in 1812 [7]
  • Daniel, Henry, James, John, Michael, Pelham, Peter Hollis all, who arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860
  • William Hollis, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1876 [7]

Canada Hollis migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Hollis Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Richard Hollis, who landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1749-1752
  • Pleasent Hollis, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750

Australia Hollis migration to Australia +

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

Hollis Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Edward Hollis, English convict who was convicted in Stafford, Staffordshire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Countess of Harcourt" on 29th April 1828, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [8]
  • William Hollis, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Princess Royal" in 1848 [9]
  • George Hollis, aged 21, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1851 aboard the ship "Reliance" [10]
  • James Hollis, aged 33, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Marion" [11]
  • Joseph Hollis, aged 28, a carpenter, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Star Queen" [12]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Hollis 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:

Hollis Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • James Hollis, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Whitby" in 1841
  • Caroline Hollis, aged 23, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Lloyds" in 1842
  • Charles Hollis, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1843
  • Thomas Hollis, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Berar" in 1865
  • C. C. Hollis, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Inflexible" in 1870
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

West Indies Hollis migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [13]
Hollis Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Nico Hollis, aged 20, who arrived in St Christopher in 1635 [7]
  • Mr. Nicolas Hollis, (b. 1615), aged 20, British settler traveling aboard the ship "Paul of London" arriving in St Christopher (Saint Kitts) in 1635 [14]

Contemporary Notables of the name Hollis (post 1700) +

  • Fred Nall Hollis (b. 1948), American artist from Troy, Alabama who signs his works "Nall"
  • Ralph L Hollis Ph.D.,, American Research Professor at The Robotics Institute of Carnegie Mellon University
  • Patrice Hollis (b. 1981), American model
  • Michael Shane Hollis (b. 1972), former professional American football placekicker
  • Mary Cal Hollis, American political candidate, Socialist Party Presidential candidate in 1996 and Socialist Party Vice Presidential candidate in 2000
  • Joe Hollis (b. 1947), former American head football coach at Jacksonville State University in 1984 and Arkansas State University from 1997 to 2001
  • H. H. Hollis (1921-1977), pseudonym of Ben Neal Ramey, an American science fiction short story writer and essayist
  • George M. Hollis, American politician, Member of New York State Assembly, 1857, 1864-65 [15]
  • Frederick W. Hollis, American politician, Delegate to New York State Constitutional Convention at-large, 1894 [15]
  • Franklin Hollis, American politician, Delegate to New Hampshire State Constitutional Convention from Concord 7th Ward, 1956 [15]
  • ... (Another 29 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Hood
  • Mr. Bramwell G Hollis (b. 1913), English Ordinary Signalman serving for the Royal Navy from Dalston, London, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [16]
HMS Royal Oak
  • James E. Hollis, British Able Seaman with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he survived the sinking [17]
USS Arizona
  • Mr. Ralph Hollis, American Lieutenant Junior Grade from California, USA working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he died in the sinking [18]


  1. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  2. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  4. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  5. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  6. ^ https://forebears.io/new-zealand/surnames
  7. ^ 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)
  8. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 19th April 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/countess-of-harcourt
  9. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) PRINCESS ROYAL 1848. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1848PrincessRoyal.htm
  10. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) RELIANCE 1851. Retrieved http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1851Reliance.htm
  11. ^ South Australian Register Tuesday 12th December 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Marion 1854. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/marion1854.shtml
  12. ^ South Australian Register Monday 1st January 1855. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Star Queen 1854. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/starqueen1854.shtml
  13. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  14. ^ Pilgrim Ship's of 1600's (Retrieved October 4th 2021, retrieved from https://www.packrat-pro.com/ships/shiplist.htm)
  15. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 19) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  16. ^ H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from http://www.hmshood.com/crew/memorial/roh_24may41.htm
  17. ^ Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from https://uboat.net/allies/merchants/crews/ship68.html
  18. ^ Pearl Harbour: USS Arizona Casualties List Pearl Harbour December 7, 1941. (Retrieved 2018, July 31st). Retrieved from http://pearl-harbor.com/arizona/casualtylist.html


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