Hall Surname Genealogy

The name could be locational or occupational; one
who lived by a hall; or one who worked in a hall (perhaps as a servant).
comes from the Old Norse holl, a spacious residence. It
has been
suggested that Hall was a family name with a meaning of “kind” or
“forgiving” – from the belief that Viking thanes were eternally
benevolent to those who lived within his hall.
Hall may also have come to England through the Norman “de Aula”
became Hall.
The name cropped up in different parts of the country,
probably from different roots.

Hall Resources on

England. The surname Hall is said to have originated in Lincolnshire
in 1090 when
Arthur Fitzwilliam changed his name to Arthur Hall to distinguish
himself from
his elder brother of the same name. Their home in the 16th
century was
Greatford Hall in Lincolnshire.

William de Aula, descended probably from an
earlier de Aula family, was living in the early 14th century in
Wiltshire and was
forebear of a prominent landowning Hall family in Bradford-on-Avon.

Halls in NE England.
There was Hall

on the English/Scots border, one of the many in that
called reivers because of their banditry.
These Halls were described as follows:

“A large widely spread clan, at
one time the most powerful in Redesdale, the Halls were well-hated and
on both sides of the border. They were
considered a clan to whom no quarter should be given.”

Halls were also found in
the Scottish valleys of Teviotdale and Liddesdale.
They were particularly dangerous in the 16th
century before the time of Border pacification.
A Hall by the name of “Mad Jack Ha” who lived at
Otterburn was later hung at Tyburn in London for
his participation in the 1715 Rebellion.

prominent merchants and shipowners at Hull on the Yorkshire coast. One line of the family got into rope-making
at Barton nearby, starting in 1767.
Hall’s Barton Ropery Co. prospered in the 19th century and
remained in
business until 1989. Meanwhile George
of this family stayed with seafaring and shipowning.
His three sons – George, Thomas and John
– emigrated to New Zealand in 1852. It
was the youngest son John Hall who entered politics there and rose
through the
ranks to become New Zealand’s Prime Minister in 1879

A majority of Halls
lived in the north of England, according to the 19th century
distribution of
the Hall name.

Scotland. The de
Aula/Hall name was brought to Scotland
by the Normans. The Halls of
Fulbar in Renfrewshire dated from 1370 but died out around 1550.
Andrew Hall was
a merchant in Kirkudbright in the late 1500’s. His son John was
in the drafting of the 1611 King James Bible.
One record of a Hall family in Selkirk on the Scottish borders
with the marriage of Henry Hall and Helen Caldwals there in 1713.

Ireland. A
number of English and Scots Halls left the Border area for Ulster at
the time
of the plantations in the 17th century:

  • John
    Hall was recorded as a tenant at Magheriboy in Fermanagh as early as
  • the
    Rev. Thomas Hall was ordained as the Presbyterian minister at Larne in
    in 1646
  • while
    Francis Hall from Antrim acquired Narrow Water Castle in county
    Down in 1670. The Halls have lived there
    since that time and Roger Hall died there in 2007.

Armagh have the largest number of Halls in Ireland today

Most Halls in America have been of English origin:

  • John Hall who came to Newport,
    Rhode Island from Bradford in Wiltshire in 1639.
  • George
    Hall from Devon who was one of the
    founders of Taunton in Bristol county, Massachusetts in the same
  • Halls
    from Kent who settled in Middletown, Connecticut in 1650.
  • and another John Hall, who arrived in the 1650’s and
    was the forebear of the Halls of Yarmouth.

A third John Hall, who arrived in 1633 and
settled in Wallingford Connecticut, was the forebear of perhaps the
prominent of these early Halls. His
descendant Lyman hall was a signer of the Declaration of Independence
and later
Governor of Georgia. One of Lyman’s
contemporaries Colonel Street Hall fought on the American side in the
War; another, Colonel Elihu Hall, who was a wealthy Loyalist, left for
London at
time and died soon after.

Halls in America
did not just come from England. A number arrived from Ireland and
some from
Germany and Sweden. Hall here was
probably the anglicized name of their German or Swedish name.

Caribbean. There was one very notable
Hall family in
Jamaica. The first of this family that has been traced was John
born in 1722. The original family records
are those that were kept by his wife Allegonda Boom.

John Hall from Ulster
had enlisted in the British First Dragoon Guards and been sent to
Canada in the
1830’s. He and his wife Jane eventually
stayed there, settling in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
These Halls were generally Protestant.
But some
became Catholic

Australia. George and
Ellen Hall from Sussex arrived in
Adelaide in South Australia in 1849. On
arrival George listed himself as a soft drinks manufacturer.
However, that was not to happen until two
years later when he founded his company Geo. Hall & Sons,
in Stonie ginger beer. Geo. Hall
& Sons was a successful soft drinks business in Australia until
sale in 1972 to the Coca Cola bottlers.

Daniel Hall from Cheshire had arrived in South Australia in 1839, ten
years earlier, but his life was more of a struggle.
Within a year both his wife Ann and daughter
Elizabeth were dead and he was seeking relief.
His son William, however, did prosper as a farmer in the
Flinders Range. Other Halls of the family
their home
at Lyndoch in the Barossa valley.

Hall Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:

Hall Names

Arthur Fitzwilliam Hall was in 1090
the first of the Halls in England.
Charles Hall
was an early American
explorer of the Arctic.
Sir John Hall was New Zealand
Prime Minister in 1878 and an early advocate of the female vote.
Wes Hall was a great fast
bowler in the West Indian cricket team of the 1960’s.
Sir Peter Hall
is a well-known English theatre and film

Select Halls Today

  • 130,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Essex)
  • 184,000 in America (most numerous in Texas)
  • 66,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)



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