Hayes Surname Genealogy

Hayes in England arose as a locational surname, associated with the
place-name Hayes in Kent, Middlesex, Devon, Dorset, or
Worcestershire. Hayes here could be the plural of hay meaning “enclosure;” or it
could come from hege,
“hedge;” or from haes,
“brushwood” or “underwood.” But the English Hayes numbers seem to
be less overall than those that have come from Scotland and Ireland.
The Hayes name had different origins there. In Scotland the name
came from the Normans and is Hay there but often Hayes on its
travels. In Ireland Hayes was generally an anglicization of the
Gaelic O’hAodha. Hayes may
be Jewish, from the Yiddish khaye
meaning “life.”

Hayes Resources on

Hayes Ancestry

Hayes in various

– Hayes, Heyes,
Heys, Hays and Hay – are to be found in England.

These are names primarily of northern England. One Lancashire
family history of Hayes traces itself back to a William Hey, born in
Leigh in 1634. The name became Heyes and then Hayes in the early

The Hayes name has in fact been
strongest in Lancashire, although this may reflect Irish
immigration. Hay by contrast has been stronger in
the border counties, reflecting probably a spillover from Scotland.

Scotland. In
Scotland the name Hay has Norman roots, being a direct translation of
the Norman de la Haye – la Haye (“the hedge”) being the name of
several towns in Normandy. The
legendary origin of the Hays
dates back to the Viking invasions
of the 10th
century, but has little basis in fact. The
first Hay in Scotland was in fact the Norman William II de la Haye in
the 12th
century. Clan Hay descends from him. Gilbert de Haye joined
the Bruce in the Scottish War of Independence and he was rewarded with
lands of Slain in Aberdeenshire.

The northeast of Scotland, around Aberdeenshire, has remained Hay
Hays were also to be found in Perthshire, East Lothian, and along the
borders. The Hays of Yester in East Lothian date from the 1350’s. John Hay, born in Peeblesshire around 1450,
was the forebear of the Hays who became Lord Tweeddale. John
Hay, the
first of Tweeddale, was Lord Chancellor of Scotland from 1692 to
Later Hays of this line commanded troops in the British army from the
Penninsular War to the Crimean War.

Ireland. Hayes is an
anglicization of a common Gaelic
surname O’hAodha, meaning
descendant of Aodh (“fire”),
although in SW Cork O’hAodha became
O’Hea and in Ulster Hughes. The Hayes name has been mainly
associated with the Dalcassian sept of Thomond to be found in Limerick
and Tipperary. From this area in the 19th century came the opera
singer Catherine
and the painters Edward Hayes and Michael Angelo

Hayes was noted on a public record in county Wexford as early as
1182. Here the surname was of Norman origin (de la Haye), having
been taken to Ireland by the Anglo-Normans. Hay was a principal
name in Wexford at the time of the 1659 census.

. The ancestry of American President Rutherford B.
Hayes began with his Scottish ancestor George Hayes who came to
Windsor, Connecticut in 1680. Hayes’s grandfather Rutherford left
his New Haven home during the Revolutionary War for the relative peace
of Vermont. His son, another Rutherford, was a Vermont
storekeeper who took his family to Ohio
in 1817. But he died there ten weeks before the birth of his son Rutherford Hayes
the future President, in
1822. Another branch of this family ended up later in Wisconsin.

Two other Hayes arrived in New England during the 17th century – Thomas
who came to Connecticut in 1645 and whose descendants are to be found
in New Jersey and John who came to New Hampshire in 1680 and was the
forebear of a large New England family.

The English Quaker Henry Hayes came to Pennsylvania in 1705 and
accepted a land grant from William Penn in Chester county.
Mordecai Hayes’ home at Embreeville, built in 1774, remains with the
Hayes family. Captain Joseph Hayes led a branch of this family to
Indiana in the early 1800’s (he was one of the first to purchase land
and settle there). Henry’s descendants celebrated the
bicentenntial of his arrival in 1905 and the tricentennial in 2005.

Irish. The
largest number of Hayes in America, however, have come from
Ireland. Notable among these Hayes have been:

  • Tom Hayes from county Cork who arrived in San Francisco in 1849
    and was one of its early civic developers. In 1861 Tom Hayes
    constructed the first outdoor recreational park, Hayes Park.
    Hayes Valley and Hayes Street are named after him. He was the
    original franchisee of the Market Street Railway.
  • Daniel and Mary
    Hayes from Kerry who came to New York in 1864. Their son Patrick
    was Archbishop of New York from 1919 until his death in 1938. He
    was born in the Five Points section of Manhattan and, in his own words,
    “was born very humble and, I may say, of poor people.”
  • and another Hayes family, this time from Tipperary, who had come
    to New York in the 1880’s. Their son Johnny won the marathon race
    at the 1908 Olympics in London. His Olympic victory undoubtedly
    contributed to the early growth of long-distance running and
    marathoning in the United States.

The grande dame of American theater, Helen Hayes, had Irish
roots. Her maternal grandparents emigrated from Ireland at the
time of the potato famine. Her mother was a great-neice of Irish
singer Catherine Hayes.

Canada. Thomas
Hayes, a Protestant from county Armagh, came to Simcoe county in
Ontario with his wife in 1830. Thomas started an Orange Lodge on
his property in 1845. He went on to live to the grand age of a
hundred, dying
in 1882.

Four Hayes brothers and their Catholic families were said to have
arrived in Quebec from Ireland at the time of the famine and settled in
the Gatineau valley. Michael and Ellen Hayes were pioneers in
Pontiac county. Some of these Hayes moved onto Saskatchewan in
early 1900’s.

Australia. Sir Henry
Hayes, a native of Cork, had been made sheriff of the city and knighted
in 1790. But ten years later he was a convicted felon transported
to Australia. There his erratic personality would get him
into trouble with authorities. One judge commented:

“The first person I tried was Sir Henry
Browne Hayes for speaking insolently of Colonel Foveaux and
endeavouring to raise a riot. I reprimanded and discharged
him. Since which he has sent me two watermelons every week of
uncommon size and goodness. He is a gentlemanly man in his
manners, though odd in his dress and appearance. He has made a
vow never to cut the hair on his upper lip, which, is very long and
gives him a very formidable and grotesque appearance.”

He finally was able to receive a pardon and return back to Ireland for
the last twenty years of his life.

Another Irish convict, Michael Hayes from Wexford, was transported for
his participation in the 1798 rebellion. He later prospered as a
trader in Sydney. His brother was a representative of the Irish
Catholic Association in Rome and he championed the Catholic cause in
Australia. However, he was found drowned off the Market Wharf in
Sydney in 1825.

William Hayes
a child convict from England, transported to Tasmania in 1843 when
just twelve. His son Edmund, who started out at an
orphanage, became
one of the pioneer settlers in the Upper Natone district of Tasmania.

Hayes Miscellany

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

Hayes Names

John Hay of Tweeddale
was Lord Chancellor of Scotland from 1692 to 1696.
Catherine Hayes was a
19th century opera soprano, the first Irish-born to achieve
international acclaim.
Rutherford Hayes was the 19th
President of the United States, taking office in 1877.
Helen Hayes was an American
actress whose long career garnered her the nickname of “first Lady of
the American theater.”
Woody Hayes was a long-serving
American college footbal coach, best known for his time with the Ohio
State Buckeyes.
Gabby Hayes was an American
screen actor, best known for his appearance in Westerns.

Select Hayes Today

  • 43,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Lancashire)
  • 73,000 in America (most numerous in California)
  • 46,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)




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