Hamsword History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The Norman Conquest of England in 1066 brought much change to the island nation, including many immigrants with new names. Among these immigrants were the ancestors of the Hamsword family, who lived in the town of Hemsworth in Yorkshire. The place-name was recorded in the Domesday Book as Hilmeuurod and Hamelsuurde. It was originally derived from the Old English personal name Hymel and the Old English word word, which means enclosure.  
The personal name Hymel is a short form of names such as Hunbeald, which means bear-cub bold, and Hunbeorht, which means bear-cub bright. Thus, the name Hamsword changed dramatically over time. Surnames rarely appeared in their modern form in ancient chronicles. In the 11th and 12th centuries, it was common practice to Latinize names in official records. The modern spelling of a surname is usually related to the phonetic spelling of that name that was developed during the 17th or 18th century.
Early Origins of the Hamsword family
The surname Hamsword was first found in Yorkshire at Hemsworth in the West Riding of Yorkshire. At the taking of the Domesday Book survey, initiated by Duke William in the year 1086 after his conquest of England at the Battle of Hastings in the year 1066, Hemsworth was held by Gamel, a Norman noble, who held it from the tenant-in-chief Ilbert de Lacy. Conjecturally, the Hemsworth line is descended from this source. Alternatively, the name could have been derived from Harmondsworth, a parish in Middlesex. 
The first record of the family was Adam de Himeswurth who was listed in the Assize Rolls for Yorkshire in 1219. 
Early History of the Hamsword family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Hamsword research. Another 86 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1621 and 1672 are included under the topic Early Hamsword History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Hamsword Spelling Variations
Before the last few hundred years the English language had no fixed system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations occurred commonly in Anglo Norman surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Hamsword were recorded, including Hamsworth, Harmsworth, Hemsworth and others.
Early Notables of the Hamsword family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Hamsword Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Hamsword family to Ireland
Some of the Hamsword family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Hamsword family
The unstable environment in England at this time caused numerous families to board ships and leave in search of opportunity and freedom from persecution abroad in places like Ireland, Australia, and particularly the New World. The voyage was extremely difficult, however, and only taken at great expense. The cramped conditions and unsanitary nature of the vessels caused many to arrive diseased and starving, not to mention destitute from the enormous cost. Still opportunity in the emerging nations of Canada and the United States was far greater than at home and many went on to make important contributions to the cultures of their adopted countries. An examination of many early immigration records reveals that people bearing the name Hamsword arrived in North America very early: William Hemsworth who landed in North America in 1700.
The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.
Motto: Manus haec inimica tyrannis
Motto Translation: This hand is hostile to tyrants.
- Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
- Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
- Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.