History and Research on the
Haviland & de Havilland Family Surname
and Descendants of
Thomas, Sieur de Haveilland, Jurat of Guernsey
Haviland, Havilant, Abilant, Havlin, Haveline,
Heavilon, Heavilin, Heavirland, Havellande, Haveland,
Haverlain, Haverland, de Havilland, de Haveilland, De Havilant...
NEUSTRIA, GUERNSEY, ENGLAND,
AUSTRALIA, AMERICA, CANADA...
The Haviland Genealogy: Ancestors and Descendants
of William Haviland of Newport, Rhode Island, and Flushing,
Long Island, 1653-1688, with Special Records of the
Allied Families of Field, Hull, Torrey, Willett-Willis
by Josephine C. Frost
A Chronicle of the Ancient and Noble Norman Family
of de Havilland, originally of Haverland, In the Côtentin
Normandy, now of Guenrsey: Including the English Branches
of Havelland of Dorsetshire, Now Extinct; Haviland
of Hawkesbury, Gloucestershire, Also Extinct; and Haviland
of Somersetshire. With the Documentary Evidences
by John Von Sonntag de Havilland
A Haverland Pumpernickel outlet
A novel by Jo Ann Butler
based on the true life story of
William A. Haviland
University of California
Nieuport 17 of Sgt. Willis B. Haviland, N124, Ham, Spring 1917
SPA124 Lafayette Escadrille
American Volunteer Airmen, WWI
We are both a surname
study, which may include family trees of Havilands
not known to be related, and a lineage study,
focusing on all known descendants of Thomas De Haveilland
of Guernsey of the 15th century, the earliest known ancestor
to whom genealogists have been able to trace.
There are several myths regarding the origins of the name Haviland. One is that the name Haviland was originally de Havery, and became Haverland as a result of placing the family's origins in the "land of Havery." That is: the family of Havery-land, or, de Haverland. "The early Havilands of England were of French birth, the original name being de Havery. The earliest records state that three brothers of that name emigrated from France to England. While crossing the Channel it was agreed that the first to see land should say, 'Have I Land' and that became their English surname." (1)
Unfortunately, the author did not cite the source of these "earliest records," and the above myth is probably fiction. There are many ancient spellings of the name, which include Haverlain, Haverlant, Havilant, Abellant, Haverlan, Havellant, Haberland, Haveilland, etc.
One of the earliest spellings of the Haviland name was
Abilant, named after a now extinct fortress in Neustria. It is generally accepted that the Havilands and de Havillands and possibly the Haverlands of today descended from the holders of this fortress, which was located near the mouth of the river Saire.
Sir Geoffrey de Havilland
Inventor of the
De Havilland Aircraft
Senator Thomas Heath
A Father of the Canadian Confederation, Prince
John Haviland, Esq.
Architect (the former supreme
court building, the oldest theater in the U.S., "The
prison of New York...)
brother of Frank Haviland
Photographer; member of the Haviland china family
(1884 portrait by Pierre-Auguste
brother of Paul Haviland
Painter; member of the Haviland china family
(1914 portrait by Amedeo
Founder of the Haviland brand china company
Olivia de Havilland
sister of Joan Fontaine
Actress: Gone With the Wind, The
Heiress (Best Actress), Hold Back
sister of Olivia de Havilland
Actress: Suspicion (Best Actress), Voyage
to the Bottom of the Sea, Gunga Din
Mrs. Laura Haviland
Slavery Abolitionist; town of Haviland, Kansas named after her
Commander Dr. Laurel
daughter of Marjory Blair Haviland,
1st cousin of Timothy Aaron Haviland
Astronaut: Space Shuttle Columbia; Died 2/1/03
in Columbia Disaster
Timothy Aaron Haviland
1st cousin of Laurel Blair Clark
Software Programmer, 96th Floor, World Trade
Center - North Tower; Died 9/11/01
Willis Haviland Carrier
Inventor of Air Conditioning; Selected by Time
Magazine as one of the 50 people who had changed
Author: Favorite Fairy Tales series, North
American Legends; Editor: The Openhearted
Audience; Founder of the Children's Book
Section at the Library of Congress
Senator Dr. Willis Henry Haviland
Physician; Montana State Senator 1906-1910
William A. Haviland
Anthropologist; Professor Emeritus at the University
of Vermont; author of such textbooks as Human
Evolution and Prehistory, and Cultural
Anthropology: The Human Challenge
Bloodgood Haviland Cutter
Poet; Characterized by Mark Twain in The Innocents
Peter de Havilland
Bailiff of Guernsey, 1810
direct descendant of Thomas de Haveilland
Prime Minister of England
WWI Fighter Pilot in the famed Lafayette Escadrille
(Pen Name: Jacques Chardonne)
Pioneer of Medical Mapping
registered to a descendant of
Sieur de Haveilland
Seal of Peter, Lord of Haverland
(son of William, Lord of Haverland,
of the Crusades)
Faith & Fairies, by
C.S. Haviland, a fantasy
novel for young adults
set in Haviland Hollow,
New York (2004)
Haviland Brand Chocolate
(Haviland / Parlon)
Favorite Fairy Tales Told in France, by Virginia
Haviland-Haverland: Roman d'une famille,
an epic novel about the
origins and migrations of
the Haviland family,
written in French
by Eric Haviland
The Square House
City of Rye, New York
(Former Inn of Dr. Ebenezer Haviland;
frequented by General George Washington)
"Miss Dorin Keane"
photo portrait by
Paul Burty Haviland
Prince Edward Island
(Former home of Senator Thomas
The Haviland Building ca 2009
11 East 36th Street, Manhattan, NY
Former NY headquarters
of china manufacturer
Haviland & Co
(1550 - 1619),
Sheriff & Mayor of Bristol, England
James de Haveilland
(1440 - 1502),
Mayor of Poole, England
Reverend James Haviland
(??? - 1762),
of Exeter College, Oxon,
Vicar of South Petherwyn
and Trewin, co. Cornwall,
from his seal.
Note it has a helmet crest
instead of a tower like his
great grandfather. Other
descendants of his father
(Dr. John Haviland,
had a tower on top
of a helmet.
Peter de Havilland
(1747 - 1821),
Bailiff of Guernsey,
from his bookplate
(1579 - 1663),
of Somerset. He began
using a triple-towered
tower as a crest, which
is found in the arms of
(1637 - 1673), son of
Note the crescent or
him as second eldest
son inheriting Arms of
his father John (left).
(1792 - 1852),
Note the three triple-
towered towers with the
crescent ("chief") inherited
from his 3rd great grandfather
Matthew Haviland (left),
and the older triple-towered
castle with martlets like that
of the Crusades' William,
Lord of Haverland, probably
to represent secondary descent
via his first great grandmother's
mother, Mary Haviland, another
daughter of Matthew.
Thomas William Aston
(1795 - 1852),
who inherited his father's
arms (Col. Thomas
Haviland, Esq.) and also
assumed the Burke name
and arms (from his mother's
mother's father Edmund
Burke) who had no other living descendants.
THE QUEST FOR CASTLE ABILANT: The origins of the Haviland / de Havilland family
"According to M. De Cerville, the distinguished Norman antiquarian, the Haviland family derived its surname from an important Neustrian fortress, so called, situated on the river Saire, three flights of an arrow above Saire Point, that is Barfleur in Normandy, at a very remote period. The earliest mention of the castle of Haviland is to be found in the Roman De Rou, a chronicle by Robert Wace, of the Isle of Jersey, who wrote in 1150." (2)
"Wace's Roman de Rou relates the origins of Normandy from the time of Rollo (Rou) to the battle of Tinchebray. It was commissioned by Henry II as a way of both celebrating the Norman past and justifying the right of Norman rulers to the throne of England: the accounts it gives of the early life of William the Conqueror and of the battle of Hastings, which occupy a substantial portion of the work, make it a valuable historical document as well as an important work of literature." (3)
Neustria was the Western division of the Frankish kingdom, in the country we now call Normandy. In fact it came to be named Normandy after the very Norse conquerors who attacked and destroyed the fortress Abilant in ca 888. (The whole territory was soon thereafter ceded to Rollo, of the Normans, by King Charles III "The Simple" in 911, but became English territory after William the Conqueror in 1066. It was then annexed by Philip II in 1204, recovered again by Henry V of England in the early 15th century, and finally incorporated into France after 1450.) The river Saire is in the region we now call Cotentin, which is the Northwestern tip of Normandy that juts out into the English Channel. Thus writes John V.S. de Havilland:
"Although the great mass of the population of Neustria in the time of the Romans was Celtic, yet at a very early period of their domination the Saxons had made settlements at different points on the coasts, which had hence received the name of the Littus Saxonicum. This will account for so many places in Lower Normandy bearing names of pure Teutonic etymology, that sure evidence of the early and permanent occupation by a people.
"On this Saxon coast, to the north-west of the Bayeux, lies the fertile valley of the Saire, in a country which excited the admiration of Master Wace, the Jersey chronicler, who, writing his Roman de Rou in the year 1150, describes it as full of beautiful woods and rivers; and relates that, about A.D. 888, the Norse Vikings, Hastings and Bier, attacked the strong castle of Haverland on the Saire but three flights of an arrow above its mouth, ravaged the surrounding country, and burnt the monasteries. This was before the treaty of Claire-sur-Epte: the duchy, however, ceded by Charles to Rollo, did not include this portion of modern Normandy, which was only acquired by a victory over the Armorican-Bretons in 931, when the county of Coutances was given to the victor Riulph, ancestor of the Vicomtes de St. Sauveur; and at the same time large possessions here were granted to a kinsman of the Duke, Bertrand the progenitor of the Barons of Briquebec, who is claimed by Mr. Wiffen as the stem of the Ducal house of Bedford. Attached to each of these important strongholds of the Province were certain fiefs intended for their maintenance, and held by their Châtelaines. Such fiefs were generally situated within the honour to which the Castle was attached, but often at some distance from its site, and were designated by the name of the Fortress. At a very early period, before the conquest of England, the Châtellenie of Haverland Castle was held by a Norman knight, who, in right of his office, possessed the fiefs attached to his charge situated in different parts of the Coutentin, which fees continued in the possession of his descendants long after the Castle had ceased to exist. The Barony being thus transmitted from generation to generation, the family derived not only its surname but its arms from this source.
"As such offices were generally conferred on junior members of great houses, it is not improbable that the first Châtelain of Haverland was a scion of the powerful Viscomtes de St. Sauveur who, as before mentioned, were then, and long after, the governors of the County of Coutances. Of this honour of St. Sauveur the family of Havilland held fiefs near Barneville, at Golleville, and St. Colomba, all in the neighborhood of Valognes, down to the end of the 13th century. Now a high legal authority asserts, that 'the name of a barony was exclusively used by its possessors and their descendants; and the possession of a territorial name of a barony as surely makes out a descent from some of the ancient barons, as if every step of the genealogy could be proved.' Dignity among the Normans was territorial rather than personal. To have so much land was to be a Baron. And the Knight and Esquire holding fewer of these broad acres were less powerful, but not less noble. To this cause we owe the superior respect which to this day, in our country, is paid to the owner of the land, to that which is rendered to the possessor of any other kind of property." (4)
Here are the words of Wace himself, in the appendix of the Roman de Rou, as translated and notated by Glyn S. Burgess:
"In Le Ham there was a wealthy abbey, well situated and well equipped. Hasting the robber destroyed it; he took away its possessions and then set fire to it. In Saint-Marcouf, on the river, there was a wealthy and affluent abbey; at that time the region surrounding it was called Nantus. Hasting and Björn destroyed it, robbed it and then set fire to it. Regouminie and Abilant and the castle of Garillant — Abilant is situated beneath a harbour; he would go straight there, the castle was very strong and the region very fertile, with fine woods and a fine river. The man who first built it and who constructed the castle was very wise and courtly; it is now called Mont Hagneiz. Hasting came there, destroyed it and set light to it." (3) [Mont Hagneiz is a hill above the valley of the Saire.]
Point of Saire, Cotentin, Normandy (ancient Neustria) map.
This is one possible location of the Abilant fortress near the mouth of the river Saire in present-day Normandy, in the area of the modern village of Réville. There are buried ruins at this location, marked here by the word "Castel" -- an old French word that came from the Latin castellum, which means fort. The word castel is closely related to the family name Castille whose arms are very similar to those of Haviland. The river runs out onto a tidal beach, and into a body of water which is sometimes referred to as "Le Havre de Saire." This means "The Harbour of Saire." Could there be an etymological connection between the French word Havre and the Haviland surname? There is also a city called Le Havre on the Eastern shore of the gulf. One variant spelling of our name is Haverlain... The -lain suffix could have the same meaning as the German -lein (as in fraulein): in which case Haverlain would mean "small harbor." This notion seems to fit nicely, though there is no proof of it. Still, there is a population of people in the Germanic countries bearing the name Haverland since at least the 1500's.
An historical map, published in 1792 by Abbe Jacques-François Lefranc, director of the seminary at Coutances, clearly showing Pt. Abilant at the mouth of the river Saire. If you look closely, you can see that the marker for the site of Abilant is a triple-towered tower
as seen on Haviland coats-of-arms. Emblems like this were used to mark strongholds on ancient maps. In effect, triple-towered castles are often found on coats-of-arms for cities and towns (e.g. Pittsburgh, PA). The towers in the shield of the Haviland coat-of-arms are likely an homage to the fortress that stood here, though it must be remembered that the tower or castle charge on coats-of-arms are not exclusive to Haviland. Specifically the triple-towered tower is found very early in the Haviland family though (as early as the Crusades), which predates the College of Arms in England (founded in 1484). The legend of the map reads "Tabula Topographyca Antiqua" which is Latin for "Ancient Topographical Map." Its intention is to reproduce extinct features of the topography of pre-Normandy in 1792. As typical of old maps the scale is wrong, but the cartographer appears to have marked two shorelines here, possibly the original shoreline on the outside vs. the modern shoreline on the inside. He has placed his emblem marking the location of Abilant on the outer shoreline, very close to the ocean. If this location is true, it would indicate that the castle was built in an area now under water. However the map may have been drafted based only on descriptions of places in the ancient past, and therefore the castle cannot be pinpointed using this map. The entire peninsula belonged to Abilant, and therefore the region appears to have been called Pt. Abilant after the fortress itself. The fortress was certainly destroyed centuries before the this map was drafted. Logically the fortress should have been built on high ground, which still makes the most likely candidate the ruins marked as Castel on the map below. (Map image courtesy Robert P. Haviland, from Heimdal #3 1976-1977, p. 5; original at Biblioteque National, Paris.)
—Christopher Sirmons Haviland
Haviland Wine Merchants
Haviland Bay, Lake Superior, Ontario, Canada
Haviland Lake, Colorado
LES DESTINÉES SENTIMENTALES (2002),
a French movie starring
and Charles Berling,
based on the novel by Haviland descendant Jacques Chardonne (Boutelleau), not coincidentally about a Limoges porcelain dynasty.
GONE WITH THE WIND (1939)
based on the Pulitzer Prize winning book by Margaret Mitchell, won ten Academy Awards and continues to be the highest grossing movie in history (adjusted for inflation), starring Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh and Olivia de Havilland.
directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Cary Grant and Joan (de Havilland) Fontaine in an Oscar-winning performance. Joan, sister of Olivia, took her step-father's surname of Fontaine as her stage name.
Havilland Hall, Guernsey, Channel Islands
(Built by Lt. Col. Thomas Fiott
De Havilland ca 1828)
Castle Cornet at St. Peter Port’s harbour, Guernsey, Channel Islands
Seat of Guernsey government, including all the de Havilland Jurats, until 1672.
Mont Orgueil Castle, Jersey, Channel Islands
The castle of Mont Orgueil, the chief stronghold defending the island of Guernsey
against the Normans, fell into the hands of a Norman chieftain, Surduval, when the
then governor of Orgueil and Jersey, Naufan, surrendered the castle in a scheme of
scandalous treachory. The French claimed to possess Jersey while conflict with local
rebellions ensued for six years. Finally, in 1467, Admiral Sir Richard Harliston from
Guernsey led Thomas de Haveilland and a huge fleet of ships into a seige of the
castle which lasted six months. The castle was forcibly recovered from the French.
For his distinguished gallantry, Thomas was bestowed a crest upon on his arms
(possibly the first, but we do not know), and he became (like his forefathers and
other family) a Jurat of Guernsey in 1470. In order to avail himself of the privileges
the Patent of Edward IV conferred upon him, due to this milestone, he established his
son James as Mayor of Poole, England, in 1471. It has been argued that James was
therefore the founder of the family in England, however some professional
genealogists balk at this conclusion as it has no basis in evidence. At any rate, it
established the high stature of the family in England with a succession of Mayors in
Poole, and a few in Salisbury, and this may have strengthened genealogical records
such that Thomas is now the earliest traceable ancestor in the family despite dozens of
other de Haveillands, de Havyllandes, and others on Guernsey well before Thomas,
whose interrelationships are lost.
Discussing plans for Roosevelt High School, 1939. This mural at the Hyde Park Post Office shows Benjamin Haviland (left, standing) with President Franklin D. Roosevelt (in car) talking about the school that would be built on Benjamin's property. Later it would be renamed Haviland Middle School. Benjamin was a good friend of FDR's, who would often call him "Uncle Ben." Franklin D. Roosevelt's father, James Roosevelt, was known to Benjamin as "Uncle Jim."
bears our name thro’ derivation,
From the legend days of Old,
How bold adventurous Norsemen,
On the seas their stories told
Of the spoils to share by conquest,
Where some strange land could gain
And would yield for them the treasures,
They had sought so long in vain.
storms came on the night winds,
And the stars were hid from view;
Lost! and the waters boundless!
Drifting! toiling! nearly famished too!
“Come we join hands round the honored pledge.
By this vow we hold our sway.
And the one the land discovers,
Bears its title from today.”
forlorn while anxious waiting,
Was the warlike Danish band.
Hark! A comrade bravely shouting,
Haver Land! Haver Land!
Haver Land in Danish di’lect,
Does this speak our Mother tongue?
Covered by the dust of ages,
Can we tell from whence it sprung?
Mystery surrounds the North men’s clans
By nature wild when Rome was free;
We only know they vanquished Neustra
And held her Castles by the Sea.
The popularity of the Haviland surname ranks 7534 in the USA.
Haverland ranks 31,711, and de Havilland and Havlin are less popular than 55,000 US surnames.
The Haviland Genealogical
25 Robin Street
East Longmeadow, MA 01028
(1) Cuyler Reynolds: Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs (4 Volumes), Vol. IV pp. 1810-1811
(2) James Smith: HISTORY OF DUCHESS COUNTY, New York, D. Mason & Co., p. xii
(3) Glyn S. Burgess: THE HISTORY OF THE NORMAN PEOPLE: WACE'S ROMAN DE ROU"
(4) James Von Sonntag de Havilland, Esq, (writing anonymously): A CHRONICLE OF THE ANCIENT AND NOBLE NORMAN FAMILY OF DE HAVILLAND, ORIGINALLY OF HAVERLAND, IN THE COTENTIN NORMANDY, NOW OF GUERNSEY, Privately Printed by A.W. Haviland and Chas. Haviland Mekeel, The Mekeel Press (1895), pp. 1-2