HOLDER-L ArchivesArchiver > HOLDER > 2002-04 > 1018712052
From: "Wendy Hiefield" <>
Subject: RE: [HOLDER] Family Origins
Date: Sat, 13 Apr 2002 08:34:12 -0700
Thanks for your inquiry of 11 Apr, incl. website. [Interesting that I've
recently 'run into' another Ontario HOLDER, and here you are! - too!] My
immigrant (to N. Am.) was b. 1697, London, according to his death memorial,
but as to origins.. there has been much conjecturing. I'm thinking
variations of the name could even have evolved, relatively simultaneously,
from more than one 'direction' considering the 'land holder/tenant'
connotation. You might dig around in Rootsweb HOLDER archives, since the
discussion has come up before, and 'official' theories have been presented.
I picked up more (research based) last year when I visited Salt Lake City
and the famous Latter Day Saints/Mormon Family History Library there. It is
from a book, pub. 1992, out of Virginia and South Carolina, and is 'edited
by' E. A. Woolen (Richmond, VA). I hope a portion he writes, that I quote
below, is not a repetition to this list.. :
THE NAME HOLDER (III, pp. 8 - 10)
"The name HOLDER is English. The excellent old Parish records of England
which have been filmed and made available to us through the courtesy of the
Genealogical Library of the Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake
City, Utah, in sharing their massive collection of data known as the
International Genealogical Index, reveal that the HOLDER people have dwelled
in virtually every county and shire in England for centuries past. Few
derivations of the name will be noted, the most frequent being use of the
spelling HOULDER in the late 1500s and early 1600s. The use of HOLDERS is
seen infrequently and very rarely HOLDERER may be noted. In Germany, the
name HALDER and HELDER are noted and in France we find the name le Holdere,
also in Great Britain the Anglicized le Holder.
Henry Harrison, in his volume SURNAMES of the UNITED KINGDOM: A Concise
Etymological Dictionary published by the Eaton Press, 190 Ebury Street, S.
W., London, England, 1912, states:
"'HOLDER (Eng.) for Upholder-Secondhand Dealer; Auctioneer; Upholsterer
sense of holding up articles to sell them)."'
Another etymologist gives the name HOLDER, HOULDER as a derivative of the
Old English 'haldan', meaning "to hold", as an occupier, possessor of land,
The HOLDER people were in substantial numbers throughout England since the
inception of written parish records and perhaps there was no county where
they were more populous than in Gloucestershire. There we note prior to
1600 names such as Christian Holder, christened at Berkeley in 1598;
Christopher Holder, christened at Dymock in 1567; Dorothy Holder, christened
at Frocester in 1578; Edmond Holder, married at Tewkesbury in 1578; Edmund
Houlder, christened at Charlton Kings in 1567. After 1600, both christening
and marriage records were found in large numbers. Birth records appear to
have become a formality somewhat later. Typical is the record of birth of
Mary Houlder, daughter of Ralph Houlder and wife, Elizabeth, on 01 February
1653 at Rickmansworth, Hertford County.
A seldom noted variation of the name HOLDER is that of HOWLDER. In Bedford
County on 18 June 1548, William Howlder, son of Allen Howlder, was
christened in Sandy Parish.
Other Bedfordshire HOLDER records of the Sixteenth century were the
christening of Elizabeth Holder, daughter of George Holder, at Cardington
Parish, 28 April 1587, and John Holder, son of George Holder, at Houghton
Conquest on 15 January 1574.
There were large numbers of HOLDER people in Berkshire in the 1600s but
again we noted the name variation Howlder as Thomas Howlder, son of Thomas
Howlder, was christened in Lambourn Parish on 22 November 1599. Ann Holder,
daughter of Thomas and Mary Holder, was christened at Didcot on 24 February
1652. By 1734 all entries read HOLDER.
It was at Harwell nearby Didcot where the writer [Woolen] and wife spent a
week with William B. Woollen and wife, Ruth, in May 1988. Only some forty
miles west of London, stands the 1,000 year old village of Harwell with
their unique cottages with thatched roofs which has been a construction
motif for centuries past. Harwell was used by the Royal Air Force as a base
in World War II and following the war became a major operation of the
British Nuclear Research operations. Surely the citizens of Didcot of long
ago never dreamed of the squadrons of aircraft over their homes as the
planes headed out and returned on their bombing runs during World War II.
In Buckingham Parish's Great Missenden Church in the period 1606 - 1623,
Methusaluh HOLDER was indeed the family patriarch as several of his children
were christened during that period.
Over at Cambridge we note Marie Holder's marriage to Hughe Barnard on 4
February 1564 at Orwell Church.
At the same location on 24 August 1570, Fraunces Holder, daughter of Thomas
Holder, was christened. Again at Orwell, Francis Holder, son of Lawrence
Holder, was christened on 18 August 1572.
A reference to the name HOLDER will invariably result in inquiry about the
origin, location and name of HOLDERNESS in England. HOLDERNESS is the
lowland of Yorkshire County lying in the south and northeast of the Humber
River which empties into the North Sea. It antedates the Norman Invasion
and, in fact, was important to the Danish when they raided the York plains
several centuries previously. The area, with exception of lands of the
church, was controlled by Drogo de Bevrere whose castle remains at Skipsea.
HOLDERNESS passed to the earls of Albemarle who held it until the thirteenth
century when the Danish raids had ceased.
In Henry Harrison's volume previously referred to we find the following:
HOLDERNESS (Teut.) Bel. to Holderness, the Domesday Heldrenesse, 14th
cent. Heldernes, Holdernesse (the second element is usually referred to
O.N. ness = O.E. noess, a promontory; but it is questionable if it is not
the Dutch nes, low marshy ground (cp O.E. (poet) noess, (low) ground), in
which case the first element may be the Dutch helder, bright, clear,
The Editor's distant cousin, Mr. William B. Woollen, a native of Yorkshire
and retired nuclear scientist, reports that HOLDERNESS was indeed a low
marshy area which today has been drained and is in use agriculturally.
As far as can be determined, there is no connection between the area in
England known as HOLDERNESS and the HOLDER people.
For the benefit of those who hold an interest in Coats of Arms or Armorial
Bearings, and Crests, Sir Bernard Burke, C. B., LL.D., in his work entitled
THE GENERAL ARMORY OF ENGLAND, SCOTLAND, IRELAND AND WALES; comprising A
REGISTRY OF ARMORIAL BEARINGS FROM THE EARLIEST TO THE PRESENT TIME,
published by Harrison, 59, Pall Mall, London, England, 1884, included
references to the name HOLDER. His volume, THE PEERAGE AND BARONETAGE,
likewise made a self-explanatory reference to the name HOLDER."
[Book states the first HOLDER to America was Nathaniel Holder who settled in
Dorchester, New England (near Boston).]
Note: The preceding quoted from HOLDER FAMILY BIOGRAPHICAL AND HISTORICAL
RECORDS AND GENEALOGY OF DANIEL HOLDER 1758 - 1843 of FAUQUIER AND
PITTSYLVANIA COUNTIES VIRGINIA AND UNION COUNTY SOUTH CAROLINA, edited by E.
A. Woolen, 1008 Ridge Top Rd., Richmond, VA 23229, published by Anundsen
Pub. Co., Decorah, Iowa, 1992.
Ref. US/CAN, 929. 273, H711hf at the Family History Library, 35 North West
Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah 84150.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Derrick Holder [mailto:]
> Sent: Thursday, April 11, 2002 4:59 PM
> Subject: [HOLDER] Family Origins
> Can anyone out there tell me the origin / meaning of the Holder
> family name, and where the various branches originally came from.
> I have traced my branch back to Thomas Holder (born 1786, Worth,
> Crawley, Sussex, here in England ),
> and, somewhat more tenuously, to Richard Holder (born 1687 in
> Nuthurst (?), Sussex and died 1728 in Mickleham, Surrey).
> For Richard's family tree, visit my website at
> I have relatives in Ontario, Canada and in the United States..
> Any information on the above would be appreciated.
> Derrick Holder