Heath Family ~ Overview

©2009 Kathryn Gearhart (No portion of this web site may be reproduced, in any form, including Internet, electronic or print, in whole or in part.)

More material on the various branches of the Heath family is located on my sister site: AlliedFamilies


There were several Heath families in the early years of Virginia and Maryland.  The first are the descendents of Thomas Heath who arrived in 1635.  The second are the descendents of William Heath who arrived in 1650.  This is the branch which intermarried with the Gee family of Southside Virginia. Later, there is the family of James Heath of Princess Anne County and another large family descended from John Heath of Middlesex County.

All of these branches had descendants who migrated across Virginia and into North Carolina.  Also in North Carolina were unrelated Heath families, or families for which a connection has not been established.  The process of elimination has required a thoughtful exploration of all potential contributors to the William Heath family that eventually settled in Darlington County, South Carolina.  It should be noted here that a large Heath group settled in New England, and also in Pennsylvania.  The latter group is very interesting in that they originated in either Cheshire or Staffordshire and were closely linked to the Janney family of those counties.  They were Quakers.

I want to say a word about spelling.  In examining the records it quickly becomes clear that census takers, county record keepers, and members of the family themselves, spelled the Heath name in a variety of ways.  It was not uncommon to find Heath, Heeth, Heth, Hath, Hayth, Haythe, and even Haith and Heith used.  Only one branch maintained this transition, the records went from a mix of Heath and Hayth, to Haythe by 1850.

This material is organized by family groups, and in some instances the branches lived close to each other.  This is my best impression of the Southern Heath family up to the Jacksonian Era.  I have not traced further, as it was not needed to make the family connection to William Heath of Darlington, South Carolina. His descendents are beautifully traced in the established genealogy, Heath Trails, by Frank Miller Richey

The Heaths of Kent

In 1635 John Heath, Willliam Short, William Edwards, and Thomas Dawson with others were transported to Virginia by William Spencer.  The Captain of the ship, William Pierce, Esquire, John Heath, William Short, William Edwards, and Thomas Dawson received headrights in Lawnes Creek, Charles City County.  It is claimed that this John Heath was the brother of Sir Robert Heath. Sir Robert was at one time Lord Proprietor of North Carolina, but his support for Charles I resulted in the loss of his property and position.  He died in France in 1649.  An examination of his family history does not substantiate a conection to the Heaths of Virginia.

Robert Heath married Thomasine Seyliard of Brasted, Kent and they had three children Joane, John, and Robert.  John married 1st Ellen Richards, 2nd Elizabeth Casinghurst.   Robert Heath II, married 1st Joane Foster, 2nd Ann Posyer in 1574.

Robert II and Anne Poyser had five children:  Sir Robert, who married Margaret Miller of Tunbridge, Kent in 1600; Richard, who died as an infant; Anne born in 1578, Mathias born in 1582, and John, born in 1590.  It is this John who is identified as the John Heath who immigrated to Virginia in 1635.  As the youngest child, John would not have any substantial inheritance.  That he would have been sent on a foreign adventure seems a reasonable possibility.  The following year, in 1636, Robert Heath, age 30, arrived in Virginia.  It is stated by some sources that this Robert was the fourth son of Sir Robert Heath however his given age precludes this.

Sir Robert Heath and Margaret Miller were the parents of Anne born in 1602; Mary born in 1608; Robert born in 1609 died in 1615; Sir Edward Heath born in 1612; Sir John Heath born in 1614; Elizabeth born in 1615; Reverend George Heath born in 1617; Robert Heath born in 1620, and Francis born in 1622.  Sir John Heath eventually came into possession of the family estate and in 1662 became Attorney-General for the Duchy of Lancaster.  He married Margaret Mennes.

John in 1635 and Robert in 1636 were likely from the Kent Heath branch, however no link has been shown between this Heath family and the families of either Thomas Heath of York County, and William Heath of Southside Virginia.  Significantly the name Robert is not used in the first or second generations of either Virginia Heath family and neither John no Robert appears to have become established in Virginia after their arrival.  They either died or returned to England.

Transport List of Heaths in Virginia and Maryland

1635 Thomas Heath by Henry Southell, Lower Norfolk County Re-entered 1637 by Lt. Popely upon marrying Southell’s widow.

1635 John Heath, by Captain William Pierse, Lawnes Parish (William Short, William Edwards, were among the 38 transported.)

1637 William Heth

1642 Ferdinand Heath, by Captain Daniell Gookin

1642 William and Ann Heath by John Brown, 100 acres in Northampton County

1643 Jane Heath by Captain John Upton, Isle of Wight County

1646 William Heath

1646 Mary Heath by Thomas Holmes, assigned by Thomas Heath, York River

1650 William Heath by Thomas Sawyer land in Lower Norfolk

1650 Margaret Heath by John Stratton land in Lower Norfolk

1650 Jane Heath by Epa. Lawson

1650 John Heath by John Brown, Northampton County

1650 Elizabeth Heath by John Brown, Northampton County

1650 William Heath and his wife Amey Heath, by John Brown, Northampton County

1651 Margaret Heath by John Stratton, Lower Norfolk County

1652 Abraham Heath by Alexander Addison, Occahannock Creek

1652 Jno.Heath by Alexander Addison, Occahannock Creek

1652 Amey Heath by Alexander Addison, Occahannock Creek

1653 Nicholas Heath by Thomas Kidd, Lancaster County

1653 John Heath by Raleigh Travers

1653 William Heath by Thomas Sawyer

1654 Isabell Heath, by John Watson and John Bognall, Westmoreland County

1655 Richard Heath, by Howel Pryse, Charles City County

1656 Elizabeth Heath by William Justice, Charles City County

1657 Peter Heath by Howel Pryse, Charles City County

1657 Julian Heath by Howel Pryse, Charles City County

1660 Isabel Heath by John Ellsley, Northampton County

In 1656 it is noted …whereas Elizabeth Heath servant to Edward Ffitzgerald committed the act of ffornicacion and bore a child in the howse and service of her said master:  Itt is therefore ordered that the said Elizabeth shall double the remaining time of service due from the time of her delivery and suffer such other corporall punishment as the Court shall Censure to be inflicted for her said offence according to Law to that purpose.

August 15, 1648, a petition by William Allen and John Heath, merchants, who have equipped the Honor and the Prosperous Susan to transport many planters, with their wies, children and servants to Virginia, petition the House of Lords that their ships may be released from Embargo at Gravesend (Coldham, I:237)

In the records of the Exchequer Port Books it is recorded that in October, 1684, John Heath, master of the Olive Branch departed for Virginia.  In June, 1685 he arrived from Virginia with a shipment of staves and hides. Again on August 19 it left Guernsey with a load of tobacco and then sailed outward in September for Virginia.

Edward Swann, son of William Swann, arrived in 1635.  He lived, variously at Swann’s Point and in England. In December 1664 he claimed as headrights Susannah Heath, whom he married.  He founded a 1200 acre plantation in St. Mary’s County, Maryland.

17 thoughts on “Heath Family ~ Overview

  1. Dennis Heath says:

    I am Dennis Heath, we can trace our Heath line back to 1780, Coulson Heath in Montgomery Co.,VA. By 1812, he is in Tennessee, with his family in Campbell and Union Counties. Anyone have any more info love to hear from you, This has been my “brick wall” for the last 20 years….

  2. Matthew Dale Heath says:

    I am looking for any information about the Heath family
    In north Texas. My father and grandfather were both named
    Edwin Dale Heath, my grandfathers parents were Mr and Mrs W H Heath.The Heaths came to texas around 1850 from Kentucky.

  3. Zona Thomas says:

    My great grandmother was Holland Heath from Cove City (Craven County), North Carolina. Born abt 1851 or 1856. Cannot find any family history on her. She was a black woman. She was married to Robert Brown. Anyone have anything that connects the Heaths in NC?

  4. Cheryl says:

    Thank you so much for such an informative website. Do you happen to know of a Heath-descent family in Central Virginia, specifically Buckingham or, later, Appomattox County? One of my gr-gr grandmother was Sarah Heath, mother of the same name, mid to late 19th c. Trying to make a connection!

  5. geesnmore says:

    Sorry, I did not research New Jersey or any New England Heaths.

  6. Kathie Kirkpatrick says:

    Do you have any family links for Andrew Heath who settled in NJ 1699? His family is reportedly from Staffordshire, Eng with the emmigrant member arriving in Burlington Co.,NJ as manservant to the Yardley family.

    I am trying to link John Heath and wife, Elizabeth Palmer Heath to Sarah Heath of NJ who married George Ely.

    Thanks so much for your help,
    Kathie Kirkpatrick

  7. geesnmore says:

    I can assure you that there is no proof of descent from Sir Robert Heath…. unable to answer your other questions.

  8. nan mack says:

    we are descended from Capt. Thomas Heath & Martha Gilbert. Have traced their ancestors but are puzzled about Mary Lee Heath d/o William Lee, s/o Col. Richard Lee. Do you know if she was married to a Thomas (progenitor, 1635 ship Safety) or a William Heath?

    Was Thomas a son of Sir Robert Heath?

    Did Thomas ever live in North Carolina, returning to Virginia in his later years?

    So many gaps and conflicting information. Any help is certainly appreciated.

  9. Linda Layfield says:

    My grandfather was Alton Parker Heath of Orlando, West Virginia. Does he have any connection with these Heaths?

  10. Tim Heath says:

    I have a little more information. As I stated, my grandfather was William Bill Heath of Clayton NC. His father and Mother was William Frank Heath which was born in 1863 and His mother was Kizzie Jones 1877 – 1942. I am Looking to go from there. If you know of more info. please email. Thank you. Tim

  11. Tim Heath says:

    This is very interesting. I have always wanted to learn more about the Heath family. I am Timothy L. Heath. Father is Walter L. Heath. Grandfater was William Heath. William lived and died in Clayton NC.

  12. allison widener says:

    hello i was wondering if you know of any information about the heaths on Sir Robert Heath’s side far as his siblings and childrens names my great grandmother was a heath.

  13. Neoma Bredehoft says:

    I’m searching for George Heath in Anniston, Al born between 1857-1862. From Alabama, seeking his linage. Not certain whick arrival he is from. Any info you might have is greatly appreciated.

    Thank you so much,


  14. Cheryl R says:

    Do you know if an Appomattox/Buckingham County family by the name of Heath may be connected with the 17th c. Heaths? As I have traced out other family lines, I discovered how so many were in the Tidewater counties until mid-18th c, when they headed into Central and Southside Virginia. Wondering if this might also be the case with my Appomattox/Buckingham Heaths.

    Thank you for your time!

  15. Linda Heath says:

    My husbands family is Heath from Virginia, his Great Great Great Great Grandfather Israel Heath, father of Jonas B Heath, Grandfather of John Barrett Heath, and so on. I would love to out if possible if this is a direct decendent of this particular John Heath. Israel was in Virginia, Jonas B headed west to Benton, MO, then the next generation headed further west on to California, Could you provide me with any other information

    Sincerely Linda s Heath

  16. geesnmore says:

    I don’t have any information about a George Heath, rector of Brasted Church, Kent during this time frame.

  17. edmund turton says:

    I came across your interesting site becaue I was searching for information about a Rev. George Heath who was a rector of Brasted Church. However, the man I am looking for was rector between 1802/3 to 1805/6.

    Is this by any chance someone about whom you have any further information?

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