Show ContentsHarp History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Harp was first used centuries ago in the region that was once the Scottish kingdom of Dalriada. It was a name for a person who occupies the role of "harper". In ancient times the harper was considered an important figurehead whereby Brehon laws stated that the elegance and music of the harp "deserved" a noble status. "In some districts lands were attached to the office as shown by the place names Croit a' Chlarsair, 'the Harper's Croft,' in the parish of Kiltarlity, near Dundonald, Ayrshire, and elsewhere, and the lands of Harperfield in the parish of Lesmahagow are probably of the same origin. " 1

Early Origins of the Harp family

The surname Harp was first found in Lennox, Scotland. Several individuals named Harper appear in the Ragman Roll as having rendered homage in 1296 to King Edward I of England: "William le Harpur of La Lawe, of the county of Edinburgh; Uctins le Harpur of the county of Lanerk, a tenant of William of Moravia; Robert le Harper of the county of Are; Johan le Harpur of the county of Berewyk, and Rogier le Harpur of Hom', also of the county of Berewyk, ere the others named in the record." 1

Farther south in England, the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 included: Henry le Harpur, Cambridgeshire; Ralph le Harpur, Oxfordshire; and Nicholas le Harpur, Cambridgeshire. 2

In Somerset, Adam le Harper and Thomas le Harpour were both recorded there 1 Edward III (during the first year of the reign of King Edward III.) 3

The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 included: Willelmus Harper; and Rogerus Harper. 2

Early History of the Harp family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Harp research. Another 197 words (14 lines of text) covering the years 1100, 1496, 1566, 1574, 1579, 1585, 1603, 1616, 1638, 1639, 1645, 1669, 1679, 1680, 1681, 1700, 1741 and 1890 are included under the topic Early Harp History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Harp Spelling Variations

Spelling in the medieval era was a highly imprecise process. Translation, particularly from Gaelic to English, was little better. For these reasons, early Scottish names are rife with spelling variations. In various documents Harp has been spelled Harper, Harpur, Harpar, Harepur and others.

Early Notables of the Harp family

Notable amongst the Clan from early times was

  • Henry Harper, High Sheriff of Herefordshire in 1496
  • Sir William Harpur (c.1496-1574), English merchant from Bedford who moved to London, became Lord Mayor of London and in 1566 he and his wife Dame Alice created the Harpur Trust which still exists toda...
  • Sir Henry Harpur, 1st Baronet of Calke Abbey, Derbyshire (1585-1638)
  • Sir John Harpur, 2nd Baronet (1616-1669)
  • Sir John Harpur, 3rd Baronet (1645-1681)

Harp Ranking

In the United States, the name Harp is the 2,344th most popular surname with an estimated 12,435 people with that name. 4

Ireland Migration of the Harp family to Ireland

Some of the Harp family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 72 words (5 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Harp migration to the United States +

These settlers arrived in North America at a time when the east was burgeoning with prosperous colonies and the expanses of the west were just being opened up. The American War of Independence was also imminent. Some Scots stayed to fight for a new country, while others who remained loyal went north as United Empire Loyalists. The ancestors of all of them went on to rediscover their heritage in the 20th century through highland games and other patriotic Scottish events. The Harp were among these contributors, for they have been located in early North American records:

Harp Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Hen Harp, who arrived in Virginia in 1658 5
  • Richard Harp, who landed in Virginia in 1695 5
Harp Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Abraham Harp, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1765 5
Harp Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • M. Harp, aged 36, who immigrated to the United States, in 1892
  • Isac Harp, aged 21, who landed in America, in 1893
  • Archibald Harp, aged 32, who landed in America, in 1895
Harp Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • A.F. Harp, aged 2, who immigrated to America, in 1903
  • Fred John Harp, aged 22, who landed in America from London, England, in 1909
  • Viola Harp, aged 30, who landed in America, in 1910
  • Joseph Henry Harp, aged 20, who immigrated to the United States from Longton, England, in 1913
  • Nellie Harp, aged 23, who landed in America from Durries, Ireland, in 1913
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Harp migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Harp Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century
  • Fred Harp, aged 49, who settled in Brantford, Canada, in 1922
  • Rosemary Harp, aged 45, who immigrated to Brantford, Canada, in 1922

Australia Harp migration to Australia +

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

Harp Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. George Harp, (b. 1810), aged 32, English convict who was convicted in Bridgewater, Somerset, England for 15 years, transported aboard the "Earl Grey" on 4th October 1842, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land), he died in 1861 6

New Zealand Harp migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Harp Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • James Harp, who landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1843

Contemporary Notables of the name Harp (post 1700) +

  • Thomas Harp (b. 1927), former American football player and coach
  • Toni Nathaniel Harp, American politician
  • Everette Harp (b. 1961), American blues, jazz and gospel saxophonist
  • Clarine Harp (b. 1978), American voice actress, Blu-ray and DVD Producer, and production assistant
  • Jessica Leigh Harp (b. 1982), American songwriter and former country artist
  • Toni Nathaniel Harp, American Democratic Party politician, Member of Connecticut State Senate 10th District, 1993-; Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Connecticut, 1996, 2000, 2004 7
  • Paul Harp, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Iowa, 1948 7
  • Isaac Harp, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Hawaii, 2004 7
  • Donna Ruth Harp (b. 1953), American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Texas, 2004 7
  • C. C. Harp, American politician, Mayor of Newton, Iowa, 1952-54, 1960 7
  • ... (Another 1 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

USS Indianapolis
  • Charlie Hardin Harp, American crew member on board the ship "USS Indianapolis" when she was on a top secret trip for the first nuclear weapon, she was sunk by Japanese Navy on 30th July 1945, he was one of the many who were killed in the sinking due to exposure, dehydration, saltwater poisoning and shark attacks 8

The Harp 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: Et suavis et fortis
Motto Translation: Pleasant and brave.

  1. Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  2. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  3. Dickinson, F.H., Kirby's Quest for Somerset of 16th of Edward the 3rd London: Harrison and Sons, Printers in Ordinary to Her Majesty, St, Martin's Lane, 1889. Print.
  4. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  5. 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)
  6. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 16th August 2021). Retrieved from
  7. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 16) . Retrieved from
  8. Final Crew List, retrieved 2021, October 30th Retrieved from on Facebook