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Holliday / Halliday


About the study

I have been carrying out a one name study on the name and all variants for about 15 years. I have amassed a lot of data, some of which is available on line via the Guild of One Name Study web site. At present this is the Probate Index for England & Wales 1858 to 1914 and GRO indexes for births, marriages and deaths.I originally started this One Name Study as a means to find out more about our own line - having recently added a couple of generations via an illigimate birth of a William Holliday in 1776 to William Holliday and Elizabeth Bell living in Arthuret, CUL - William senior then marries Anne Fearon.
So hence I have amassed a large quantity of data and enjoy helping researchers find the odd detail/ or a large family tree.

Variant names

Holliday, Holiday, Haliday, Halliday, Holyday, Hollowday, Halladay, Halloday, Holloday, Holladay, Hollyday, Hallyday, Halyday, Hallad(e)y

Name origin

From The Oxford Names Companion
'Halliday N English and Scots; from Old English haligdaeg holy day, religious festival. The reasons why this word should have become a surname are not clear, perhaps it was used as a nickname for persons born at Christmas or Easter.'From Burkes Commoners
'With the settlement of this people on the borders of the two kingdoms, began the harassing and petty warfare which may be said to have continued until long after the Union; and tradition affirms, that 'a holyday' became the warcry or slogan of the chief and people of Annandale, whenever they made a 'raide' or foray upon the Saxon border - for they accounted every day HOLY, that was spent in ravaging the ememy's country.'

The wars that in the aftertimes so fiercely raged between two neighbouring and rival nations, thus arose from the hatred that existed and long continued to exist between two distinct people,the Saxon and the Gaul, the oppressor and the oppressed. The Clan, when provisions became scarce were summoned to make a holyday, and in proof of the probability of this origin of the name, the eminence where the 'Annandale Moss Troopers,' were accustomed to assemble when a foray into England was ordered, still retains the designation of the Halliday Hill. (OS Landranger Series sheet 85 NY091741) Whether the derivation be correct or not, there are now no means of ascertaining - but the evidence is complete, that the chieftain, who first assumed the surname, had his castle or strong tower, near the source of the River Annan, and about two or three miles above the present flourishing village of Moffat, so celebrated for its mineral waters; at the Corehead the ruins of this castle may still be traced, and there we may suppose that generation after generation had lived in Celtic greatness as chiefs, and had hunted the wolf and the wild boar in the woody vale, when more profitable pursuit of Saxon beeves was not necessary or advisable.

It was also suggested by researcher Clarence Halliday (1963) that the name might have more ancient roots. Roman invaders called the people of Annandale 'allodil', which might have translated from Latin as 'those who cultivate their own land'. The idea being that when the Roman legions penetrated the valley of Annan they were struck by the fact that the peoples there, a mixed race of peoples, lived on lands owned by themselves. That is, no feudal type system existed as the Romans were accustomed, but one more like a freehold tenure. The medieval Latin word 'allodiālis' is apparently the root for Allodial land title. The similarity of this Latin word to the Old English surname could indicate a corruption of the old word with the new meaning. Evidence for this interpretation is however admittedly thin.

Historical occurrences of the name

From Burkes Commoners
'The Border Celts were a warlike, though at all times an undisciplined people, and subdued and heart-broken in their own territory, it may naturally be supposed they sought for adventure on some other shore. The Norman yoke must have been felt most acutely - and certain it is, that almost every man able to bear arms within the Stewartry (as it was now called) of Annandale, joined the standard of the Earl of Huntingdon, and accompanied the lion-hearted RICHARD to the Holy Land. (AD 1190-94)* But even previous to this levy 'en masse,' many of the Halliday clan had returned to Ireland, or fled into the wilds of Galloway, where their valour long kept the Norman at bay. It is not required to follow the history of the legions which King RICHARD led to Palestine- while the ill fated monarch was in captivity, the Earl of Huntingdon returned to England with all that remained of the British force- and such was the jealousy of the two factions, or rather the faction of Prince JOHN, which then disturbed the peace of the kingdom, that this little band of worn out, but distinguished warriors, was discharged and disbanded over the kingdom. Among
these veterans, there must have been seen many of the name of Halliday, for we very soon afterwards find the surname common in several counties in England, holding freehold lands of the sovereign, as also vassals of superior lords.
* Of the five thousand men sent by WILLIAM of Scotland to join King Richard, one thousand were from Annandale, and almost all HALLIDAYS.'Early Holliday/Hallidays:-
1179-94 Reginald Halidei, Bedfordshire
1188 Suein Halidai, Nottinghshire
1240 Walter Halliday, Exchequer Rolls, as lord of a manor called St Botolf, Kent
1302 Thomas Halliday - Killed fighting for his uncle William Wallace at the battle of Rosslyn.
1461 Walter Hallyday became Master of the Revels to King Edward IV, (1461-83) and acquired
land in the parish of Rodborough, Gloucestershire, which are still held by his descendants. Said to be a younger son of an Annandale Chieftain.
1524 Thomas Holidaie, Suffolk
1666 John Halladay, Register of Freeman of York
1674 Robert Holladay Suffolk Hearth Tax Returns.

Distribution of the name

The name is found in several counties of England and Scotland, including Cumberland, Dumfriesshire, Yorkshire, Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire, Kent and Surrey.


So far I have collected:-
GRO Indexes
Births 1837 to 1983 you can view these on line at this site 1837-1900
Marriages 1837 to 1983 you can view these on line at this site 1837-1911
Deaths 1837 to 1983 you can view these on line at this site 1837-1911Wills
pre 1858 an on going index with just over 600 wills & adminstrations. This includes all PCC wills. ( I am looking for anyone who can offer to check their local record office for local wills as this area is quite difficult for me to cover)
Post 1858
1858 to 1950 index to over 2000 wills - I have some wills and transcripts of others.
You can view on line at this site 1858 - 1950
Parish Registers
Mostly Cumberland as this is our own family area of interest.

Also several hundred family groups are held in my genealogy programme with over 21,000 names including spouses. Please do contact me to see if I can help - I also ask that you allow me to have your Holliday/Halliday family information (no living relatives please) so that I can add them to my data base - this is way connections are made.