Thanks Amy. Always good to hear from a Healis! Actually, I can trace the family back to the 1600s in Barbados and the name was always Healis there (well before Ellis Island -- they immigrated in 1890s I think without checking my file). Our family migrated before Ellis Island kept records. I just ordered a book on Barbados genealogy but I also know that people came to Barbados from England beginning 1620, I think for various reasons -- not being first born and thus not inheriting, indentured servants, prisoners, trouble makers (against the King), etc. I have the CDs with the marriage/birth records. I also know there were Healises left in England and some Healises I believe came from Ireland. My mother sometimes thought it was Ellis at one point too and that Healis was used because there were doctors in the family. I guess it really depends on how far back you go to get the origin of the name. Are you related to Billy Healis in Florida? It would be wonderful if you get hold of the tape!
Incidentally, I know there are Healises in Iowa who have been there since at least the Civil War, but I can't trace a connection yet. Also, there's a branch in Massachusetts but I know the common ancestor there is a generation or two before William Walter. Keep in touch.
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