The family whose primary branch name is spelled Hannay has, through the ages, spread from its origins in southwestern Scotland to every corner of the globe. Some who spread to other parts of Scotland changed the name slightly to Hannah. Some emigrated to parts of England where they adopted the spelling Hanney. In the 17th century a large wave of the family settled in Ireland and their descendants, in general, used the spelling Hanna. The great expansion of the British Empire in the 18th and 19th centuries took all spellings of the name farther afield to North America, the Caribbean, the Indian subcontinent and Oceania.