Holly History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The distinguished surname Holly emerged among the industrious people of Flanders, which was an important trading partner and political ally of Britain during the Middle Ages. As a result of the frequent commercial intercourse between the Flemish and English nations, many Flemish migrants settled in Britain. In early times, people were known by only a single name. However, as the population grew and people traveled further afield, it became increasingly necessary to assume an additional name to differentiate between bearers of the same personal name. The manner in which hereditary surnames arose is interesting. Local surnames are derived from where the original bearer lived, was born, or held land. Flemish surnames of this type frequently are prefixed by de la or de le, which mean of the or from the. The Holly family originally lived near a prominent group of holly shrubs. The surname Holly is derived from the Old English words holi, holie, and holin, which in turn come from the Old English words holegn and holen, which mean holly. The surname Holly belongs to the class of topographic surnames, which were given to people who resided near physical features such as hills, streams, churches, or types of trees.

Early Origins of the Holly family

The surname Holly was first found in Norfolk where they held a family seat from early times and their first records appeared on the early census rolls taken by the early Kings of Britain to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects.

Early History of the Holly family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Holly research. Another 78 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1602, 1686 and 1679 are included under the topic Early Holly History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Holly Spelling Variations

Flemish surnames are characterized by a large number of spelling variations. One reason for this is that medieval English lacked definite spelling rules. The spellings of surnames were also influenced by the official court languages, which were French and Latin. Names were rarely spelled consistently in medieval times. Scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to specific spelling rules, and people often had their names registered in several different forms throughout their lives. One of the greatest reasons for change is the linguistic uniqueness of the Flemish settlers in England, who spoke a language closely related to Dutch. The pronunciation and spelling of Flemish names were often altered to suit the tastes of English-speaking people. In many cases, the first, final, or middle syllables of surnames were eliminated. The name has been spelled Holly, Holley, Hollie and others.

Early Notables of the Holly family (pre 1700)

Another 28 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Holly Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Holly family to Ireland

Some of the Holly family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 79 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Holly migration to the United States +

Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the name Holly or a variant listed above:

Holly Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Elizabeth Holly, who settled in New England in 1635
  • Eliza Holly, aged 30, who arrived in America in 1635 [1]
  • John Holly, who settled in Virginia in 1650
  • John Holly, who landed in Virginia in 1650 [1]
  • Lyonell Holly, who landed in Virginia in 1652 [1]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Holly Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • William DeForest Holly, who arrived in Mobile County, Ala in 1836 [1]
  • Georg David Ludw Holly, who landed in America in 1852 [1]
  • Joh Holly, who arrived in America in 1857 [1]
  • Jeremiah J Holly, who arrived in Mobile, Ala in 1858 [1]

Canada Holly migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Holly Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. Ebenezer Holly U.E. born in Connecticut, USA who settled in Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1784 listed as signing the Quaker Loyalist Agreement he was also a High Contestable for the City of Saint John [2]
  • Mrs. Jane Holly U.E. who settled in Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1784 listed as signing the Quaker Loyalist Agreement [2]
  • Mrs. Mary Holly U.E. born in Connecticut, USA who settled in Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1784 listed as signing the Quaker Loyalist Agreement [2]
Holly Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Mary Holly, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1831
  • Miss. Margaret Holly who immigrated to Canada, arriving at the Grosse Isle Quarantine Station in Quebec aboard the ship "Ellen Simpson" departing from the port of Limerick, Ireland but died on Grosse Isle In 1847 [3]
  • Mrs. Catherine Holly, aged 30 who was emigrating through Grosse Isle Quarantine Station, Quebec aboard the ship "Scotland" departing 13th April 1847 from Cork, Ireland; the ship arrived on 8th June 1847 but she died on board [4]
  • Miss. Catherine Holly, aged 2 who was emigrating through Grosse Isle Quarantine Station, Quebec aboard the ship "Scotland" departing 13th April 1847 from Cork, Ireland; the ship arrived on 8th June 1847 but she died on board [4]
  • Mr. James Holly, aged 2 who was emigrating through Grosse Isle Quarantine Station, Quebec aboard the ship "Scotland" departing 13th April 1847 from Cork, Ireland; the ship arrived on 8th June 1847 but he died on board [4]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Holly migration to Australia +

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

Holly Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • William Holly and his wife Keturah arrived in Port Adelaide aboard the ship "Apolline" in 1840 [5]
  • William Holly, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Apolline" in 1840 [5]
  • Keturah Holly, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Apolline" in 1840 [5]
  • Daniel Holly, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Fairfield" in 1840 [6]
  • Ellen Holly, aged 21, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1851 aboard the ship "Marion" [7]

Contemporary Notables of the name Holly (post 1700) +

  • Buddy Holly (1936-1959), stage name of Charles Hardin Holley, American singer-songwriter and a pioneer of Rock and Roll, killed in a plane crash with Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper, famously referred to as "The Day the Music Died" in Don McLean's 1971 song "American Pie"
  • Doyle Holly (1936-2007), stage name of Doyle Floyd Hendricks, American musician, best known as the bass guitar player of Buck Owens and the Buckaroos
  • Lauren Michael Holly (b. 1963), American actress, best known for her role as Deputy Sheriff Maxine Stewart in the TV series Picket Fences
  • Jeffrey Owen Holly (b. 1953), American retired Major League Baseball pitcher for the Minnesota Twins
  • Brigadier-General Joseph Andrew Holly (1896-1987), American Deputy Chief of Staff Assembly Area Command, US European Theater of Operations (1945-1946) [8]
  • William Holly, Washington Development Corp
  • Melissa Holly Suffield (b. 1992), English actress from London, best known for her role as Lucy Beale in the BBC soap opera EastEnders
  • Imogen Holly Aird (b. 1969), English television actress, best known for her role on the BBC1 drama series Waking the Dead
  • William Holly Johnson (b. 1960), English artist, writer and musician
  • Arthur Holly Compton (1892-1962), American physicist awarded the 1927 Nobel Prize in Physics


  1. ^ 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)
  2. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  3. ^ Charbonneau, André, and Doris Drolet-Dubé. A Register of Deceased Persons at Sea and on Grosse Île in 1847. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, 1997. ISBN: 0-660-198/1-1997E (p. 34)
  4. ^ Charbonneau, André, and Doris Drolet-Dubé. A Register of Deceased Persons at Sea and on Grosse Île in 1847. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, 1997. ISBN: 0-660-198/1-1997E (p. 80)
  5. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) APOLLINE 1840. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1840Apolline.gif
  6. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) FAIRFIELD 1840. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1840Fairfield.htm
  7. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) MARION 1851 - HER HISTORY. Retrieved http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1851Marion.htm
  8. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2012, March 30) Joseph Holly. Retrieved from http://generals.dk/general/Holly/Joseph_Andrew/USA.html


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