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HARRIS Family History


This ancient surname is English, Scottish and Irish, and is recorded in many spellings including Harry, Harrie, Harrhy, Harris, Harries, and Harriss. However spelt, all derive from the 11th century personal name Harry, itself an early medieval form of Henry.  Henry originates from the pre 7th century Frankish name "Henn- ric", meaning "home-rule".  The Franks were a Germanic tribe, and spoke a branch of continental Germanic.  The name was first introduced into Britain at the Norman Conquest of England, in 1066, and is recorded as Henricus in the famous register known as the Domesday Book, in the year 1086.

HARRIS (Variants: Harries, Harriss, Haris, Herries)

Also interpreted as 'The son of Harry', deriving from a form of Henry which may have also signified a rich lord. Also, from the Old Norse, Harri. In Dutch, it comes from Harries and from the Flemish, a personal name - Hariche.

In Greek, it is a reduced form of the Greek personal name Kharalambos, composed of the elements khara meaning ‘joy’ and lambein ‘to shine’. In Jewish, it is an Americanised form of any of various like-sounding Jewish names, perhaps as an anglicised form of Aaron.

Early bearers of the surname include: Willelmo Harries, 1379 in Poll Tax (Devizes, Wilts); Willelmo Herys, 1379 in Poll Tax (Luton, Beds); Isabella Harreis, 1381 in Poll Tax (Fairford, Gloucs); William Harrys, 1406 in Eynsham Cartulary (Oxon); Lawrence Harryes, 1468 in Fine Rolls (Herts); John Harys, 1540 in Parish Registers (Saint Peter, Sandwich, Kent); George Haris, 1554 in IGI (Coleshill, Warwicks); Ralfe Harris, 1575 in Parish Registers (Isle of Sheppey, Kent).

In 1891, the surname was widespread across England and Wales with 79,603 occurrences and 1,275 in Scotland. Earlier, in 1881, Kent was recorded as a top county with 3,597 occurrences. It was also frequent in the county of Gloucestershire where there were 3,428 occurrences and Bristol district was recorded as a top parish for the surname within the county.

A John Harris from Gloucestershire was transported as a convict to Australia aboard the 'Ann' in August 1809, settling in New South Wales, Australia.

In 1881, the most common Harris occupation in the UK was Agricultural Labourer, followed by Labourer and Farmer as the top 3 reported jobs worked by Harris. A less common occupation for the Harris family was Coal Miner.

More recently, Mrs Lindsay Jane Harris L.V.O., British Lady in Waiting to Princess Michael of Kent, was appointed Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order on 29th December 2018.

Geographically, the locative town named Harris and Harrishead can be found in United Kingdom. Harris is located in Scotland on the larges island in the Outer Hebrides and is the most mountainous part of the island. Harriseahead is a village located in the county of Staffordshire.

1881, 1891 Census

1881 Census in Kent

1881 Census in Gloucestershire

Dictionary of American Family Homes, P Hanks OUP 2003

Homes of Family Names in Great Britain, H.B. Guppy, London 1890

The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland, P.Hanks, Coats, McClure OUP 2016

1860 Lower, Mark A Patronymica Britannica: a dictionary of the family names of the United Kingdom, London: J.R Smith. Public Domain

1857 Arthur, William An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. New York: Sheldon, Blakeman. Public Domain



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Sherry Hathcoat

Trying to find the names of willis harris parents. He was born in 1814 virginia and married elizabeth ?. She was born 1812 north carolina. Willis had a son named charlie harris who married margaret tipton. Please help.

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