Origin of the Name Higgins
family history was found in the allfamilycrests.com archives.
Over the centuries Surnames developed a wide number of variants. Different spellings of the same name can be traced back to an original root. Additionally when a bearer of a name emigrated it was not uncommon that their original name would be incorrectly transcribed in the record books at their new location. Surnames were also often altered over the years based on how they sounded phonetically and depending on the prevailing political conditions it may have been advantageous to change a name from one language to another.
Variants of the name Higgins
include O'Higgins, Higgans, Higgin, Higginson, Higgens, Higgons, Higgon and Higneyy. This surname is of ancient Gaelic origin and is derived from the Gaelic O'hUigin sept.
A sept or clan is a collective term describing a group of persons whose immediate ancestors bore a common surname and inhabited the same territory. Irish septs and clans that are related often belong to even larger groups, sometimes called tribes.
The original families were a branch of the Westmeath O'Neills. Many of these moved to County Sligo where until recently they were extensive landowners. In the thirteenth to seventeenth centuries they excelled as poets, later being renowned in the fields of medicine and sciences. A famous bearer of the name was Bernardo O'Higgins (1778-1842) who together with José de San Martín, freed Chile from Spanish rule in the Chilean War of Independence. His father Ambrosio O'Higgins (1720-1801) was a Governor of Chile and later became Viceroy of Peru. At the present time the name is chiefly found in Connaught Province.
The Higgins coat of arms came into existence centuries ago. The process of creating coats of arms (also often called family crests) began in the eleventh century although a form of Proto-Heraldry may have existed in some countries prior to this. The new art of Heraldry made it possible for families and even individual family members to have their very own coat of arms, including all Higgins descendants.