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Our 2,743 members have registered
2,395 study surnames with us
and a further 6,089 variant names.

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About the study

The Holland One Name Study commenced in April 2011, so it is very new! This study has been initiated out of particular interest in the origins and meaning of the surname as well as other important research into where and who the Hollands are. A recent straw poll indicated that nine out of ten people thought the name originated from The Netherlands and the rest did not know, so the aim is to carry out a thorough one-name study to discover whether they were right and assist enquiring genealogists researching people with the surname Holland in the future.

Variant names

The variants included in this study are as follows: Halland; Holan; Holand; Holland; Hollande; de Holande; de Hollande; de Holland; Mc Holland; van Holland; van den Holland; van der Holland; Holländer and den Hollander. A deviant not included is Der Fliegender Holländer - The Flying Dutchman!

Name origin

The Holland surname is generally proving to be a locative one, with the possible exception of makers of the linen cloth called Holland from Dordrecht in the Netherlands. Early research is indicating that the surname Holland is derived from multiple placenames, icluding: Orkneyjar (now Orkney), Cumberland, Westmorland, Lancashire, Lincolnshire, Essex and the Netherlands. Orkneyjar, Lancashire, Cumbria and Westmorland are probably from places named by Norse settlers and the others Anglo Saxon. The Dutch surname Holland is said to originate from a small county named Holland in the 11th century and the name derives from the Old Dutch holtlant, meaning woodland.

Historical occurrences of the name

Historical occurences of the name occur in Orkneyjar (Orkney) and most notably in West Lancashire, where a descendant of Steinulf, Matthew de Hollande, took the name Holland from the manor of the same name near the modern town of Up Holland. This family were prolific, had many titles and some married royalty. They were influential for some 500 years. Two of them were founder members of the Order of the Garter - Sir Thomas Holland and Sir Otto Holland. The surname Holland was also taken up in Lincolnshire and Essex.

Cornelius Holland (1600-1671?), politician and regicide, was elected to the Long Parliament for New Windsor and later allegedly drew up the death warrant for Charles I. With the restoration of the monarchy, and facing death by hanging, drawing and quartering, he escaped the country and lived in exile in Lausanne and Vevey, Switzerland, as John Ralfeson.

Samuel Johannes Holland (1729-1801) was Canada'€™s first Surveyor-General. As a Dutch Army officer his engineering and cartographic skills must have come to the attention of the Duke of Richmond when he was touring the battlefields of the Low Countries. Dutch engineers were highly valued in the British Army and he left the Dutch artillery and, in 1754, he joined the British forces being prepared for a major campaign in North America.

Name frequency

From the 1881 Census data for England Scotland and Wales, underpinning the Archer Surname Atlas software, there were 21,340 Hollands recorded. This gives a frequency of 1 Holland in every 1,210 people.

According to an ONS database, there were some 37,777 Hollands recorded in England, Wales and the Isle of Man as of September 2002. This gives a frequency of 1 Holland in every 1,440 people. There are more Hollands in Scotland and Northern Ireland that were not recorded.

According to a Dutch database, there were 381 people recorded in 1947 with the name Holland. In 2007 there were 701.

According to a German database, there are 3003 people with the surname Holland and it is the 1,589th most common name.

Distribution of the name

In Britain, in the 1881 Census, counties with most Hollands were: Lancashire (4,468), Middlesex (2228), Cheshire (1653) and Surrey (1286). Those with the greatest concentration per 100,000 people were Cheshire (257), Nottinghamshire (195), Buckinghamshire (138) and Lancashire (129).

In The Netherlands, in 1947, distribution was measured in Hollands per province. The provinces with the largest number of Hollands were: Gelderland (162), Overijssel (76), Noord-Brabant (45) and Zuid Holland (33). In 2007 distribution was measured in Hollands per gemeente (district). Those with the largest number were Twenterand (129), Rotterdam (25), Amsterdam (24) and Zevenaar (23). These figures increase if the name van Holland (of Holland) is included.

In Germany, distribution of these figures is by Bundesland (state). The Bundeslaender with the highest number of Hollands are Niedersachsen (467) and Sachsen-Anhalt (465).


As this is a relatively new study the information that could be had is not as voluminous as that which can be had from a more mature one; however, information is being gleaned all the time and any request is most welcome. The first stage of the study is to address the origin and distribution of names in an international context, then data assembly will follow; however, information is made available from a number of sources relatively frequently.