Harmswithay History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
Harmswithay is a name that was brought to England by the ancestors of the Harmswithay family when they migrated to the region after the Norman Conquest in 1066. The Harmswithay 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 Harmswithay 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 Harmswithay family
The surname Harmswithay 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 Harmswithay family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Harmswithay research. Another 86 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1621 and 1672 are included under the topic Early Harmswithay History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Harmswithay Spelling Variations
Norman surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are largely due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England, as well as the official court languages of Latin and French, also had pronounced influences on the spelling of surnames. Since medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings. The name has been spelled Hamsworth, Harmsworth, Hemsworth and others.
Early Notables of the Harmswithay family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Harmswithay Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Harmswithay family to Ireland
Some of the Harmswithay 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 Harmswithay family
Many English families emigrated to North American colonies in order to escape the political chaos in Britain at this time. Unfortunately, many English families made the trip to the New World 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 stormy Atlantic. Despite these hardships, many of the families prospered and went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the United States and Canada. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the name Harmswithay or a variant listed above: William Hemsworth who landed in North America in 1700.
Related Stories +
The Harmswithay 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: 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.