Harmswith History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
Harmswith is a name that came to England in the 11th century wave of migration that was set off by the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Harmswith family 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 Harmswith 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 Harmswith family
The surname Harmswith 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 Harmswith family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Harmswith research. Another 86 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1621 and 1672 are included under the topic Early Harmswith History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Harmswith Spelling Variations
The English language only became standardized in the last few centuries. For that reason, spelling variations are common among many Anglo-Norman names. The shape of the English language was frequently changed with the introduction of elements of Norman French, Latin, and other European languages; even the spelling of literate people's names were subsequently modified. Harmswith has been recorded under many different variations, including Hamsworth, Harmsworth, Hemsworth and others.
Early Notables of the Harmswith family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Harmswith Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Harmswith family to Ireland
Some of the Harmswith 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 Harmswith family
To escape the uncertainty of the political and religious uncertainty found in England, many English families boarded ships at great expense to sail for the colonies held by Britain. The passages were expensive, though, and the boats were unsafe, overcrowded, and ridden with disease. Those who were hardy and lucky enough to make the passage intact were rewarded with land, opportunity, and social environment less prone to religious and political persecution. Many of these families went on to be important contributors to the young nations of Canada and the United States where they settled. Harmswiths were some of the first of the immigrants to arrive in North America: 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.