Holy History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The distinguished surname Holy 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 Holy family originally lived near a prominent group of holly shrubs. The surname Holy 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 Holy 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 Holy family

The surname Holy 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 Holy family

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

Holy 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 Holy family (pre 1700)

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

Ireland Migration of the Holy family to Ireland

Some of the Holy 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 Holy migration to the United States +

Discovered in the immigration and passenger lists were a number of people bearing the name Holy:

Holy Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Lorenz Holy, who arrived in America in 1782 [1]
Holy Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Jeremiah Holy, who landed in Tippecanoe County, Ind in 1843 [1]
Holy Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • George Holy, aged 27, who arrived in Texas in 1900 [1]
  • Josef Holy, who landed in Galveston, Tex in 1900 [1]
  • Alois Holy, who arrived in Galveston, Tex in 1902 [1]
  • John Holy, aged 21, who arrived in Texas in 1905 [1]
  • Frank Holy, who landed in Texas in 1913 [1]

Canada Holy migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Holy Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Mary Holy, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1828


  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)


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