Select 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).

Hall 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” which became Hall.

The name cropped up in different parts of the country, probably from different roots.

Select Hall Resources on The Internet

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 the forebear of a prominent landowning Hall family in Bradford-on-Avon.

Halls in NE England.  There was Hall reivers on the English/Scots border, one of the many in that region 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 feared 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.

Halls were 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 Hall 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.

.  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 involved in the drafting of the 1611 King James Bible.  One record of a Hall family in Selkirk on the Scottish borders began 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 1619
  • the Rev. Thomas Hall was ordained as the Presbyterian minister at Larne in Antrim 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.
Antrim and 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 year. 
  • 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 most 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 Revolutionary War; another, Colonel Elihu Hall, who was a wealthy Loyalist, left for London at that 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.

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

Canada.  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, specializing in Stonie ginger beer.  Geo. Hall & Sons
was a successful soft drinks business in Australia until its 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 made their home at Lyndoch in the Barossa valley.

Select Hall Miscellany

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

Select 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 director.

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)

Select Surname List

Adams Ellis Johnson O'Connor
Allen Evans Jones O'Sullivan Shaw
Anderson Fisher
Kelly Parker Simpson
Bailey Foster Kennedy Perry Smith
Baker Fox King Peterson Stevens
Barnes Fraser 
Lee Phillips Stewart
Bell Graham Lewis Powell Taylor
Bennett Gray Marshall Price Thomas
Brown Green Martin Reed
Griffiths Mason      
Reynolds Turner
Campbell Hall McDonald Richards
Carter Hamilton Miller  Richardson Walsh
Chapman Harris Mitchell Roberts Ward
Clark Harrison
Moore Robertson Watson
Collins Henderson Morgan Robinson White
Cook Hill Morris Rogers Williams
Cooper Howard Murphy Ross Wilson
Cox Hughes Murray Russell Wood
Davis Jackson Nelson Ryan Wright
Edwards James O'Brien 

For other surnames check the surnames2 page where there are to be found the history and genealogy for more than 800 surnames.

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