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Our 2,766 members have registered
2,405 study surnames with us
and a further 6,120 variant names.

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About the study

The Greenhead One-Name Study started seriously in 1999. I have always been interested in knowing more about my branch of the Greenhead family tree but it wasn't until I visited Redhill library, Surrey, England in 1999 that my research into the entire family tree really started. I happened to be browsing through the cricket section when I came across a booklet commemorating the hundredth anniversary of South Nutfield Cricket Club. I opened the booklet at a page that gave a report on a match that took place between a team of Greenheads and the South Nutfield Cricket Club in 1919. The match was held to celebrate the Golden Wedding Anniversary of Joseph and Emma Greenhead and was followed by a reception for 80 members of the family. The ages of the Greenhead team ranged from 71 to 11 years and represented a grand total of 401 years. Unfortunately the Greenheads lost by 5 wickets but it would have been an excellent opportunity to have carried out some research. The Greenhead name was registered with the Guild of One-Name Studies in February 2004.

Variant names

There are many possible variants of the Greenhead surname going back to the fifteenth century although some may be mis-transcriptions or mis-translations. These include Greanehead, Greened, Greenhad, Greenehad, Greenehead, Greeneheade, Greenheade, Greenehed, Greenehede, Greenheed, Greenhed, Greinhead, Greinhede, Grenehed and Grenehod. The registered variants of the Greenhead name are Greenehead, Greinhead, Greinhede, Greenheed and Greenehad.

Name origin

The surname Greenhead is believed to be a locational name that originated from an individual living in or near to a green headland. The oldest member of the family I have recorded to date is Ronald Greenehead who lived during the fifteenth century in Cumbria, England. It is therefore possible that the Greenhead name could have originated from the village of Greenhead that is situated next to Hadrian's Wall on the Northumberland/Cumbria border.

Historical occurrences of the name

Some notable Greenheads include a family of eight musicians who formed the Cremona Musical Union in the nineteenth century. The Union comprised of Zara Greenhead (Violin & Contralto Vocalist), Charles Greenhead (Viola), Marie Greenhead (Violoncello), Everard Greenhead (Contra Bass & Buffo-Baritone), Sophie Angeline Greenhead (Flute), Miranda Greenhead (French Flageolet & Soprano Vocalist) who at that time claimed to be the only female French Flageolet player in the World, Lizzie Greenhead (Pianoforte & Soprano Vocalist) and Henri Greenhead (Cornet & Buffo-Baritone). The Musical Union always dressed in period costumes and once played for HRH Prince George the Prince of Wales.

Bernard Greenhead is another notable member of the family that I have discovered and his claim to fame is that his timely kick saved the television transmission of the Coronation of King George VI on 12 May 1937.

Name frequency

Based on the United Kingdom census returns there were 54 males and 64 females with the surname Greenhead resident in the UK in 1881 and this rose to 73 males and 79 females in 1901.

Distribution of the name

Based on the 1901 UK Census 55% of persons with the Greenhead surname lived in Surrey, particularly Croydon, 14% in Kent, 14% in London, 13% in Yorkshire and 4% in Essex. The name was very rare in Ireland, Scotland & Wales and that is still the case today. A few members of the family have emigrated since the middle of the nineteenth century and now the Greenhead surname can be found in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, India and USA.


All entries from the General Register Office BMD Indexes for England & Wales from 1837 to 2002. Complete extracts from the 1881 and 1901 UK Census' with some data from the 1851, 1861, 1871 & 1891 UK Census returns. All information from the International Genealogical Indexes and some data from Parish Registers.

I would be very pleased to help anyone with an interest in the Greenhead family seeking information on their ancestors and would also be interested in receiving information that might assist me in my quest to complete the Greenhead family tree.