HAYES Last Name Meaning and Origin

The Hayes surname sometimes originated with someone who lived near a hunting enclosure.
Getty / Lonnie Duka

The Hayes surname has several possible origins:

An English or Scottish place name for a man who lived near an enclosure haeg or heye, an area of forest fenced off for hunting. The Hayes surname may also have been derived from the old English haes or the old French word heis, both meaning "brushwood."

As an Irish surname, Hayes may be an Anglicized form of the Gaelic surname Ó hAodha, meaning "descendant of Aodh." Aodh was a popular given name in early Ireland, adapted from the old Irish name Áed, meaning "fire" In County Cork the Ó hAodha surname was commonly Anglicized as "O'Hea." In County Ulster, it became Hughes.

 Some uses of the Hayes surname in Ireland, especially in County Wexford, could possibly be of English origin.

HAYES was the 100th most common American surname in 1990, but had dropped to #119 by the time of the 2000 U.S. census.

Alternate Surname Spellings: HAY, HAYE, HAYS, HEAS, HEYES, HIGHES, O'HEA, HEASE, HEYES, HEISE

Surname Origin: English, Scottish, Irish

Where in the World is the HAYES Surname Found?

The Hayes surname was found throughout Ireland in the mid-19th century, according to The Irish Times map of Hayes households in the Ireland Primary Valuation property survey of 1847-64. The name was found most prevalently, however, in southern Ireland—especially the counties of Cork, Tipperary, Limerick and Waterford. Their map of Hayes births between 1864 and 1913 shows the largest number born in the registration district of Limerick, followed by Clonakilty and Cork.

According to WorldNames public profiler, the Hayes surname is found most prevalently in Ireland, followed by Australia, northwest England (around Liverpool), the United States and New Zealand.

Famous People with the HAYES Surname:

  • Rutherford B. Hayes - 19th president of the United States
  • Lee Hays - American singer/songwriter
  • Helen Hayes - American actress; recipient of an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony
  • Joanna Hayes - second American in history to win the Gold medal at the 100-meter hurdles
  • Bob Hayes - American sprinter and football player
  • Charles Melville Hays - victim of the 1912 Titanic disaster
  • Sir John Hayes - explorer for the British East India Company
  • Ira Hamilton Hayes - Hero who raised U.S. flag at Iwo Jima
  • Hunter Hayes - American country singer
  • Alexander Hayes - Union army general in the Civil War

Genealogy Resources for the Surname HAYES:

Meanings of Common Scottish Surnames
Uncover the meaning of your Scottish last name with this free guide to the meanings and origins of common Scottish surnames.

Meanings and Origins of Common Surnames of Ireland
Ireland was one of the first countries to adopt hereditary surnames. Here are the meanings of fifty of the most common surnames in Ireland.

My FamilyTree DNA Hayes Project
Over 185 members have already joined this DNA genealogy project, working together to connect the results of genetic ancestral testing, with traditional genealogy research, to place members in various family lines.

Hayes Family Genealogy Forum
Search this popular genealogy forum for the Hayes surname to find others who might be researching your ancestors, or post your own Hayes surname query.

FamilySearch - HAYES Genealogy
Explore over 5 million results, including digitized records, database entries, and online family trees for the Hayes surname and its variations on the FREE FamilySearch website, courtesy of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

HAYES Surname & Family Mailing Lists
RootsWeb hosts several free mailing lists for researchers of the Hayes surname.

DistantCousin.com - HAYES Genealogy & Family History
Explore free databases and genealogy links for the last name Hayes.

The Hayes Genealogy and Family Tree Page
Browse genealogy records and links to genealogical and historical records for individuals with the Hayes surname from the website of Genealogy Today.

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References: Surname Meanings & Origins

Cottle, Basil.

Penguin Dictionary of Surnames. Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books, 1967.

Dorward, David. Scottish Surnames. Collins Celtic (Pocket edition), 1998.

Fucilla, Joseph. Our Italian Surnames. Genealogical Publishing Company, 2003.

Hanks, Patrick and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford University Press, 1989.

Hanks, Patrick. Dictionary of American Family Names. Oxford University Press, 2003.

Reaney, P.H. A Dictionary of English Surnames. Oxford University Press, 1997.

Smith, Elsdon C. American Surnames. Genealogical Publishing Company, 1997.


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