Harbour History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain were the first to use the name of Harbour. The name had a practical origin since it came from when its initial bearer worked as a person who ran a lodging house. This surname is a metonymic form of the surname Harberer, and is derived from the Old English word herebeorg, which means shelter or lodging. [1]

Early Origins of the Harbour family

The surname Harbour was first found in Cambridgeshire where the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 list Geoffrey Herbour and John Herbour as holding lands there at that time. [2]

Two early London records show William le Herber in the Rotuli Litterarum Clausarum in Turri Londinesi; and Richard le Hareber in the Munimenta Gildhallæ Londoniensis. [1]

Early History of the Harbour family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Harbour research. Another 124 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1596, 1679, 1676, 1785, 1635, 1692, 1689, 1690, 1572 and 1575 are included under the topic Early Harbour History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Harbour Spelling Variations

Until quite recently, the English language has lacked a definite system of spelling rules. Consequently, Anglo-Saxon surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. Changes in Anglo-Saxon names were influenced by the evolution of the English language, as it incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other languages. Although Medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, so it is common to find one person referred to by several different spellings of his surname, even the most literate people varied the spelling of their own names. Variations of the name Harbour include Arbour, Arbor, Harbord, Harbard, Hardboard, Harboard, Harber, Harbot and many more.

Early Notables of the Harbour family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include William Harbord (1635-1692), of Grafton Park, an English diplomat and politician, Privy Counsellor and Paymaster of the Forces in Ireland in 1689, Vice-Treasurer of Ireland in 1690. He was the first English ambassador to Turkey...
Another 41 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Harbour Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Harbour Ranking

In the United States, the name Harbour is the 7,207th most popular surname with an estimated 4,974 people with that name. [3]


Canada Harbour migration to Canada +

Searching for a better life, many English families migrated to British colonies. Unfortunately, the majority of them traveled under extremely harsh conditions: overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the ocean. For those families that arrived safely, modest prosperity was attainable, and many went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the new colonies. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Harbour or a variant listed above:

Harbour Settlers in Canada in the 17th Century
  • John Harbour, who landed in Braintree, Massachusetts in 1654

Australia Harbour migration to Australia +

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

Harbour Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • James Harbour, aged 39, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Caucasian" [4]

Contemporary Notables of the name Harbour (post 1700) +

  • William E. Harbour (d. 2020), American civil rights activist who participated in the Freedom Rides
  • William E. Harbour, American Democratic Party politician, Postmaster at St. Albans, West Virginia, 1951-53 [5]


The Harbour Motto +

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: Equanimiter
Motto Translation: With equanimity.


  1. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  2. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  4. ^ South Australian Register Tuesday 3 February 1852. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) BARQUE CAUCASIAN 1852. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/caucasian1852.shtml
  5. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 29) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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