Harmer History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Harmer came to England with the ancestors of the Harmer family in the Norman Conquest of 1066. It comes from the Old English given name Heremoer. It derives from the Old English elements here, which means army, and moer, which means fame. [1]

Alternatively, the name could have been "an ancient personal name, occurring in the Domesday Book of Norfolk among the tenants in chief as Hermerus. " [2]

The family may have originated in Normandy as the Magni Rotuli Scaccarii Normanniae lists John, Ralph, William Hermer, in Normandy, (1180 - 1198.) [3]

Early Origins of the Harmer family

The surname Harmer was first found in Staffordshire where Hermerus de la Bold was listed in the Pipe Rolls of 1176. A few years later, Willelmus filius Hermeri was listed in the Curia Regis Rolls for Lincolnshire in 1208 and William de Herme was found in the Curia Regis Rolls for Sussex in 1207. Simon de Haremere was found in the Subsidy Rolls for Sussex in 1296. Later again, Walter Hermer was listed in the Subsidy Rolls for Suffolk in 1327. [4]

In Yorkshire, Johannes Hermer was listed in the Poll Tax of Howdenshire in 1379 and Ricardus Hermer was found in the Poll Tax of Yorkshire of 1379. [5]

Early History of the Harmer family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Harmer research. Another 104 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1610, 1972, 1555, 1613, 1555, 1569, 1572, 1575, 1594, 1670, 1594, 1647 and 1646 are included under the topic Early Harmer History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Harmer Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names tend to be marked by an enormous number of spelling variations. This is largely due to the fact that Old and Middle English lacked any spelling rules when Norman French was introduced in the 11th century. The languages of the English courts at that time were French and Latin. These various languages mixed quite freely in the evolving social milieu. The final element of this mix is that medieval scribes spelled words according to their sounds rather than any definite rules, so a name was often spelled in as many different ways as the number of documents it appeared in. The name was spelled Harmer, Harmar, Hermer, Hermar, Hearmer, Hearmar and others.

Early Notables of the Harmer family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was John Harmer or Harmar (c.1555- c.1613), English professor of Greek at Oxford. He was born, probably of humble parentage, at Newbury in Berkshire about 1555. Through the influence of the Earl of Leicester, he was elected to St. Mary's College, Winchester, in 1569, at the age of fourteen; in 1572 he obtained a scholarship at New College, Oxford, where he matriculated on 10 Jan. 1575...
Another 72 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Harmer Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Harmer Ranking

In the United States, the name Harmer is the 14,885th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [6]


United States Harmer migration to the United States +

Because of the political and religious discontent in England, families began to migrate abroad in enormous numbers. Faced with persecution and starvation at home, the open frontiers and generally less oppressive social environment of the New World seemed tantalizing indeed to many English people. The trip was difficult, and not all made it unscathed, but many of those who did get to Canada and the United States made important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers with Harmer name or one of its variants:

Harmer Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Charles Harmer, who arrived in Virginia in 1635 [7]
  • Doraty Harmer, who arrived in Virginia in 1658 [7]
  • Gothofrid Harmer, who landed in Maryland in 1661 [7]
  • Jane Harmer, who arrived in Virginia in 1663 [7]
  • Will Harmer, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1682 [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Harmer Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Valentine Harmer, who landed in Frederick County, Maryland in 1796 [7]
  • Valentine Harmer, who settled in Frederick County Maryland in 1796
Harmer Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Henry Harmer, who arrived in America in 1830 [7]
  • John, Martin and Robert Harmer, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1839
Harmer Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Bertram Harmer, who landed in Alabama in 1929 [7]

Australia Harmer migration to Australia +

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

Harmer Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John Harmer, English convict who was convicted in Middlesex, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Exmouth" on 3rd March 1831, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [8]
  • Mr. William Harmer, British convict who was convicted in Surrey, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "England" on 6th June 1835, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [9]
  • William Harmer, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Eden" in 1838 [10]
  • Mr. Joseph Harmer, English convict who was convicted in Norfolk, England for life, transported aboard the "Canton" on 20th September 1839, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [11]
  • Edward Harmer, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Orleana" in 1840 [12]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Harmer migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Harmer Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Edward Harmer, aged 29, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Westminster" in 1843
  • D. Harmer, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Belle Creole" in 1853
  • Miss Sarah Harmer, (b. 1847), aged 20, British domestic servant travelling from London aboard the ship "Glenmark" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 14th November 1867 [13]
  • Mr. Jason Harmer, (b. 1853), aged 22, English bricklayer from Sussex travelling from London aboard the ship "Waimate" arriving in Port Chalmers, Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 4th December 1875 [14]
  • Mrs. Louisa Harmer, (b. 1848), aged 27, English settler from Sussex travelling from London aboard the ship "Waimate" arriving in Port Chalmers, Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 4th December 1875 [14]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

West Indies Harmer 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. [15]
Harmer Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • William Harmer, who settled in Barbados in 1679 with his servants

Contemporary Notables of the name Harmer (post 1700) +

  • John L. Harmer (b. 1934), American politician, Lieutenant Governor of California (1974-1975)
  • John Harmer, American politician, Mayor of Williamsburg, Virginia from 1737 to 1738
  • David Harmer (b. 1962), American attorney and political candidate who ran for election to the United States House of Representatives from California's 11th Congressional District
  • Alfred Crout Harmer (1825-1900), American shoe manufacturer and politician, member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Pennsylvania
  • John L. Harmer, American Republican politician, Member of California State Senate, 1966-74; Presidential Elector for California, 1972; Lieutenant Governor of California, 1974-75; Defeated, 1974 [16]
  • Harvey Walker Harmer (1865-1961), American Republican politician, Member of West Virginia State Senate, 1901-04, 1919-22; Mayor of Clarksburg, West Virginia, 1906-07 [16]
  • Hardin Roads Harmer (1899-1963), American Republican politician, Member of West Virginia Republican State Executive Committee, 1940-44; Member of West Virginia State Senate 13th District, 1943-48; resigned 1948 [16]
  • David Harmer, American Republican politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from California 10th District, 2009 [16]
  • Alfred Crout Harmer (1825-1900), American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Pennsylvania, 1868; U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania 5th District, 1871-75, 1877-1900 [16]
  • Juliet Harmer (b. 1943), English artist, children's author and actress
  • ... (Another 10 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Hood
  • Mr. George Harmer (b. 1919), English Engine Room Artificer 4th Class serving for the Royal Navy from Stratford, Essex, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [17]
HMS Royal Oak
  • A. Harmer, British Leading Seaman with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he survived the sinking [18]


  1. ^ Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  2. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  3. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  4. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  5. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  6. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  7. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  8. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 25th May 2022). https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/exmouth
  9. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 28th April 2022). https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/england
  10. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) EDEN 1838. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1838Eden.htm
  11. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 17th December 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/canton
  12. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) ORLEANA 1840. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1840Orleana.htm
  13. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  14. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  15. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  16. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 8) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  17. ^ H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from http://www.hmshood.com/crew/memorial/roh_24may41.htm
  18. ^ Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from https://uboat.net/allies/merchants/crews/ship68.html


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