Harmswithey History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
Harmswithey is a name whose history on English soil dates back to the wave of migration that followed the Norman Conquest of England of 1066. The Harmswithey 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 Harmswithey 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 Harmswithey family
The surname Harmswithey 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 Harmswithey family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Harmswithey research. Another 86 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1621 and 1672 are included under the topic Early Harmswithey History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Harmswithey Spelling Variations
Anglo-Norman names are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. When the Normans became the ruling people of England in the 11th century, they introduced a new language into a society where the main languages of Old and later Middle English had no definite spelling rules. These languages were more often spoken than written, so they blended freely with one another. Contributing to this mixing of tongues was the fact that medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, ensuring that a person's name would appear differently in nearly every document in which it was recorded. The name has been spelled Hamsworth, Harmsworth, Hemsworth and others.
Early Notables of the Harmswithey family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Harmswithey Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Harmswithey family to Ireland
Some of the Harmswithey 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 Harmswithey family
For many English families, the political and religious disarray that plagued their homeland made the frontiers of the New World an attractive prospect. Thousands migrated, aboard cramped disease-ridden ships. They arrived sick, poor, and hungry, but were welcomed in many cases with far greater opportunity than at home in England. Many of these hardy settlers went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Among early immigrants bearing the name Harmswithey or a variant listed above were: 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.