There is plenty of evidence that the Hollier name is a French one. How many English Holliers took their name from Norman French invaders we shall never know. I have come across several citations to publications by Holliers from France, between the 16th and 20th centuries. There are some 75 Holliers in the French IGI. In the mid 1700s, three brothers from Nantes, who were in the French Navy, settled in Louisiana and stayed on even when it became a Spanish colony. Two of these brothers (Luc Claude and Jacques Noel Hollier) are the ancestors of the large group of Holliers still in Louisiana and nearby southern states. The families originate from Opelousas and St Martinville in Louisiana and for several generations maintained their French names and language.
Mike Hollier writes:-
“There were three brothers from Nantes:
Luc Claude, Jacques Noel and Jean Francois. Luc Claude and Jacques Noel were both in the French military. We have been unable to identify exactly when they arrived in Louisiana, but Luc Claude was here in the 1750s and Jacques was here in the 1760s. I believe Jean Francois was in Haiti (St. Domingue) and later came to Louisiana at the time of the slave revolt.
All three brothers were educated. I speculate Luc Claude and Jacques Noel stayed in Louisiana when France transferred the Louisiana Colony to Spain. Luc Claude marries the Opelousas Post Commandant's daughter and settles there with a Spanish land grant and grows Indigo for awhile. I have a copy of the contract for the building of his house and several investigative reports he prepared for the Commandant.
Jacques Noel remained in New Orleans for the rest of his life. One document identifies him as a ‘wig maker’ another as a ‘surgeon of the marine’. His sons move to Opelousas when they become adults and join the uncle and cousins there.
Both Luc Claude and Jacques Noel and their sons were in the cattle business. Their separate cattle brands are recorded in the Brand Book in 1775 in St. Martinville (Post des Attakapas).
On Jean Francois I have no information. In 1788 New Olreans is 90% destroyed by fire. Jacques Noel (my ancestor) lost everything and petitions the Cabildo for permission to leave the colony to go to St. Domingue (Haiti) to purchase slaves from his brother for resale in New Olreans. The brother must be Jean Francois. Luc Claude was settled in Opelousas. He went and came back with the slaves and the court record identifies the names, purchase price, purchase location and amount in Haiti of each slave.
When the United States purchases the Louisiana Territory from France, there was a census taken a few years later. There is a “John Hollier” identified on St. Peter Street who is a teacher. I speculate this is Jean Francois.”
Inspection of the US 1880 census shows that some Holliers were of black or mixed race. This may stem from the habit of slaves being given the surnames of their masters. All in all, the history of the Louisiana Holliers and those in neighbouring parts of the Southern USA is complex and I am by far from being the expert in this field.