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.


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 - a 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

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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Powell, Kimberly. "HAYES Last Name Meaning and Origin." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, thoughtco.com/hayes-last-name-meaning-and-origin-1422426. Powell, Kimberly. (2023, April 5). HAYES Last Name Meaning and Origin. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/hayes-last-name-meaning-and-origin-1422426 Powell, Kimberly. "HAYES Last Name Meaning and Origin." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/hayes-last-name-meaning-and-origin-1422426 (accessed May 31, 2023).