Show ContentsHarbin History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

It was among those Anglo-Saxon tribes that once ruled over Britain that the name Harbin was formed. The name was derived from the name Rabin or Robin, which are pet forms of the personal name Robert. The name is preceded the Old English prefix har, which means gray. Hence, the surname Harbin literally means gray Rabin or gray Robin. [1]

Early Origins of the Harbin family

The surname Harbin was first found in the parish of Taxal, Derbyshire at Horobin. [2]

A very rare name, we did find some late entries for the family in Cheshire. The Wills at Chester list John Horabin, of Westhoughton, 1591; Thomas Horabin, of Bolton, 1612; Richard Horrobin, of Bolton, 1633; and William Horrobin, of Little Bolton, 1633. "It will be seen that the Bolton Horobins first became Horrobin, and then Harrobin, as they exist to-day." [2]

Early History of the Harbin family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Harbin research. Another 154 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1591, 1596, 1612, 1618, 1633, 1696, 1790, 1783, 1713 and 1686 are included under the topic Early Harbin History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Harbin Spelling Variations

Until the dictionary, an invention of only the last few hundred years, the English language lacked any comprehensive system of spelling rules. Consequently, spelling variations in names are frequently found in early Anglo-Saxon and later Anglo-Norman documents. One person's name was often spelled several different ways over a lifetime. The recorded variations of Harbin include Horrobin, Horrabin, Horobin, Horabin, Harrobin, Harrabin, Harobin, Harbin, Harbine, Harbyn, Harbynn, Horbyn and many more.

Early Notables of the Harbin family (pre 1700)

Another 42 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Harbin Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Harbin Ranking

In the United States, the name Harbin is the 2,850th most popular surname with an estimated 9,948 people with that name. [3]

United States Harbin migration to the United States +

Thousands of English families boarded ships sailing to the New World in the hope of escaping the unrest found in England at this time. Although the search for opportunity and freedom from persecution abroad took the lives of many because of the cramped conditions and unsanitary nature of the vessels, the opportunity perceived in the growing colonies of North America beckoned. Many of the settlers who survived the journey went on to make important contributions to the transplanted cultures of their adopted countries. The Harbin were among these contributors, for they have been located in early North American records:

Harbin Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Robert Harbin, who settled in Virginia in 1739

Canada Harbin migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Harbin Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Augustus Caesar Harbin, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1749

Australia Harbin migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Harbin Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Alexander Gray Harbin, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Lalla Rookh" in 1840 [4]
  • Hannah Harbin, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Lalla Rookh" in 1840 [4]
  • Mary Ann Harbin, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Lalla Rookh" in 1840 [4]
  • Samuel Harbin, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Lalla Rookh" in 1840 [4]
  • Louisa Harbin, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Lalla Rookh" in 1840 [4]

West Indies Harbin migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [5]
Harbin Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Alexander Harbin, who arrived with his wife in Barbados in 1680

Contemporary Notables of the name Harbin (post 1700) +

  • William Harbin, American politician, Member of North Carolina House of Commons from Iredell County, 1822 [6]
  • Herbert W. Harbin (b. 1905), American Democratic Party politician, Candidate in primary for U.S. Representative from Michigan 13th District, 1954 [6]
  • Dick Harbin, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Texas, 1956 [6]
  • George Harbin (1665-1744), English clergyman, a nonjuror and significant political writer
  • Lionel Harbin (b. 1976), Australian professional rugby league footballer
  • John Harbin (b. 1947), Australian sports coach
  • Robert Harbin (1909-1978), British magician and writer noted as the inventor of a number of classic illusions
  • John Harbin Rousselot (1927-2003), American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from California, 1956; U.S. Representative from California, 1961-63, 1970-83; Defeated, 1982 [7]

  1. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  3. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  4. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) LALA ROOKH 1840. Retrieved from
  6. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 29) . Retrieved from
  7. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 10) . Retrieved from on Facebook