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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016

Origins Available: English, Irish


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

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

Individual scribes in the Ireland during the Middle Ages would often record a person's name various ways. How the name was recorded depended on what that particular scribe believed the proper spelling for the name pronounced to him was. Spelling variations revealed in the search for the origin of the Harney family name include Harney, Hartney, O'Harney, Hartney, Harnedy, Harnet, Harnett, Hartnet, Hartnett, Haherny and many more.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Harney research. Another 149 words (11 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Harney History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Harney Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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In the late 18th century, Irish families began emigrating to North America in the search of a plot of land to call their own. This pattern of emigration grew steadily until the 1840s when the Great Potato Famine of the 1840s cause thousands of Irish to flee the death and disease that accompanied the disaster. Those that made it alive to the shores of the United States and British North America (later to become Canada) were, however, instrumental in the development of those two powerful nations. Many of these Irish immigrants proudly bore the name of Harney:

Harney Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • Rkhard Harney, aged 38, landed in Virginia in 1635

Harney Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Joseph Harney settled in Maryland in 1772
  • Thomas Harney, who arrived in America in 1798

Harney Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Rebecca Harney, aged 48, landed in Massachusetts in 1812
  • Michael Harney settled in Boston in 1823
  • Mathew, James, John, Thomas Harney, all arrived in Philadelphia between 1800 and 1840
  • Col. Harney, aged 40, arrived in Key West, Fla in 1840
  • William Harney, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1840


Harney Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century


  • John Harney, who arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1749

Harney Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • Richard Harney, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1814
  • James Harney from Waterford city was married in St. John's in 1814
  • Michael Harney, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1823
  • John Harney settled in Harbour Grace in 1824
  • Elizabeth Harney, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1826


Harney Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • Job Harney, aged 37, a farm labourer, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Avalanche" in 1875
  • Emma Harney, aged 25, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Avalanche" in 1875
  • Caroline Harney, aged 16, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Avalanche" in 1875
  • Emily Harney, aged 9, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Avalanche" in 1875
  • Annie Harney, aged 7, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Avalanche" in 1875


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  • Thomas P. Harney, American Republican politician, Member of Pennsylvania State Senate 19th District, 1953-60
  • John T. Harney, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Massachusetts, 1972
  • James P. Harney, American Democrat politician, Candidate in primary for Kentucky State House of Representatives 73rd District, 1973
  • Michael Harney, American Screen Actors Guild Award winning actor, known for his work in Erin Brockovich (2000), Orange Is the New Black (2013) and Captivity (2007)
  • Corinna Harney (b. 1972), American model and actress, known for Rat Race (2001), Vegas Vacation (1997) and Playboy: Jenny McCarthy, the Playboy Years (1997)
  • John Hopkins Harney (1806-1868), American politician and legislator from Kentucky
  • William Selby Harney (1800-1889), American general, Revolutionary war patriot, eponym of Fort Harney, Oregon
  • Susan Harney (b. 1946), American actress
  • Paul Harney (b. 1929), American PGA professional golfer
  • John Milton Harney (1789-1825), American poet

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  1. Grehan, Ida. Dictionary of Irish Family Names. Boulder: Roberts Rinehart, 1997. Print. (ISBN 1-57098-137-X).
  2. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1992. Print.
  3. Vicars, Sir Arthur. Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland 1536-1810. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  4. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  5. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  6. Johnson, Daniel F. Irish Emigration to New England Through the Port of Saint John, New Brunswick Canada 1841-1849. Baltimore, Maryland: Clearfield, 1996. Print.
  7. Hickey, D.J. and J.E. Doherty. A New Dictionary of Irish History form 1800 2nd Edition. Dublin: Gil & MacMillian, 2003. Print.
  8. Harris, Ruth-Ann and B. Emer O'Keefe. The Search for Missing Friends Irish Immigrant Advertisements Placed in the Boston Pilot Volume II 1851-1853. Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1991. Print.
  9. Read, Charles Anderson. The Cabinet of Irish Literature Selections from the Works of the Chief Poets, Orators and Prose Writers of Ireland 4 Volumes. London: Blackie and Son, 1884. Print.
  10. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  11. ...

The Harney Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Harney Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 16 October 2015 at 12:40.

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