Show ContentsHarnett History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Gaelic name used by the Harnett family in ancient Ireland was O hAthairne, which is possibly derived from the word athardha, which means paternal. [1]

Early Origins of the Harnett family

The surname Harnett was first found in Connacht (Irish: Connachta, (land of the) descendants of Conn), where they held a family seat from very ancient times.

Early History of the Harnett family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Harnett research. Another 74 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Harnett History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Harnett Spelling Variations

The search for the origins of the name Harnett family name revealed numerous spelling variations. These variants can be somewhat accounted for when it is realized that before widespread literacy people only recognized their name by pronunciation; it was up to scribes to decide how it was to be formally recorded. Variations found include Harney, Hartney, O'Harney, Hartney, Harnedy, Harnet, Harnett, Hartnet, Hartnett, Haherny and many more.

Early Notables of the Harnett family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Harnett Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Harnett Ranking

In Newfoundland, Canada, the name Harnett is the 492nd most popular surname with an estimated 96 people with that name. [2]

United States Harnett migration to the United States +

Thousands of Irish left in their homeland in the 18th and 19th centuries to escape the religious and political discrimination they experienced primarily at the hands of the English, and in the search of a plot of land to call their own. These immigrants arrived at the eastern shores of North America, early on settling and breaking the land, and, later, building the bridges, canals, and railroads essential to the emerging nations of United States and Canada. Many others would toil for low wages in the dangerous factories of the day. Although there had been a steady migration of Irish to North America over these years, the greatest influx of Irish immigrants came to North America during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the Irish name Harnett or a variant listed above:

Harnett Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Harnett, who arrived in Virginia in 1643
  • Edward Harnett, who arrived in Salem, Massachusetts in 1643 [3]
  • Martha Harnett, who landed in Maryland in 1675 [3]
Harnett Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Bartholomew Harnett, a bonded passenger, who arrived in Virginia in 1734
Harnett Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Maurice Harnett, who was naturalized in Madison County, Illinois in 1854
  • Eliza Harnett, who was a passenger aboard the "SS Denmark," when it arrived in New York in 1868
  • Eliza Harnett was a passenger aboard the SS Denmark, when it arrived in New York in 1868
Harnett Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Mr. Benjamin John Harnett, (b. 1848), aged 57, Cornish artist travelling aboard the ship "New York" arriving at Ellis Island, New York on 9th May 1905 en route to San Francisco, California, USA [4]

Canada Harnett migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Harnett Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Garret Harnett, aged 56 who immigrated to Canada, arriving at the Grosse Isle Quarantine Station in Quebec aboard the ship "Agnes" departing from the port of Cork, Ireland but died on Grosse Isle in June 1847 [5]

Australia Harnett migration to Australia +

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

Harnett Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Edward Harnett, English convict who was convicted in Middlesex, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Baring" in December 1818, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [6]
  • Maurice Harnett, aged 30, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1860 aboard the ship "Schah Jehan"

Contemporary Notables of the name Harnett (post 1700) +

  • William Michael Harnett (1848-1892), Irish-American painter whose still lifes of ordinary objects are painted in such a way that the painting can be mistaken for the objects themselves
  • Cornelius Harnett (1723-1781), American politician, Delegate to Continental Congress from North Carolina, 1777 [7]
  • Bertram Harnett, American politician, Justice of New York Supreme Court 10th District, 1968 [7]
  • Curtis Melvin "Curt" Harnett (b. 1965), Canadian racing cyclist, competed in four Olympic Games, winning three medals, one silver and two bronze
  • Cynthia Harnett (1893-1981), English writer of children's historical fiction awarded the Carnegie Medal in 1951
  • John Harnett Noseworthy M.D. (b. 1951), American neurologist, President and Chief Executive Officer of Mayo Clinic from 2009 to 2018

  1. Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  2. The order of Common Surnames in 1955 in Newfoundland retrieved on 20th October 2021 (retrieved from Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland by E.R. Seary corrected edition ISBN 0-7735-1782-0)
  3. 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)
  4. Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from
  5. Charbonneau, André, and Doris Drolet-Dubé. A Register of Deceased Persons at Sea and on Grosse Île in 1847. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, 1997. ISBN: 0-660-198/1-1997E (p. 32)
  6. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 16th September 2020). Retrieved from
  7. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 16) . Retrieved from on Facebook