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1,031,722 Harris members around the world

Family spelling variants includes Harry, Harries, Harriss, Haris, Herries

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Harris Family History

Family spelling variants include Harries, Harriss, Haris, Herries, and Harry.

This surname is seen frequently in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland, and has many different recorded forms, including Harries, Harris, Haris and Herries. It is generally derived from the 11th century personal name Harry, an early medieval form of Henry. Henry originates from the pre 7th century Frankish name 'Henn- ric', meaning 'home-rule. The Franks were a Germanic tribe, and spoke a branch of continental German. 

The name was first introduced into Britain after the Norman Conquest in 1066, and was recorded as 'Henricus' in the famous register known as the Domesday Book, which was compiled in 1086. The surname is also well established in Ireland, and was first seen there during the Plantation of Ulster. 

Other origins include the Old Norse, Harri, as well as the Flemish personal name, Hariche. In Ireland, there are some examples, particularly in relation to County Mayo families, where both Harris and Harrison may be anglicised forms of the Gaelic Ó hEarchadha.

In American Jewish communities it is an Americanised form of any of various like-sounding Jewish names, and as such it is perhaps an anglicised form of Aaron.

As a surname it is patronymic – this means that the addition of the 's' at the end of the name would indicate 'the son of Harry', Harry being a reference to an ancestor who would have lived some centuries ago. In Wales, while 'Harries' is the most common version of the surname, in some parts of the country, in particular in the south, sometimes 'Harry' was retained instead without the 's' ending when the surname became hereditary.

There are approximately 1,023,744 Harris family members around the world, while this figure can probably be doubled when maiden name connections and other relations are taken into consideration.

It is estimated that the largest group of Harris family members lives in USA with 761,684 (74.4%) members. 863,941 (12.9%) members reside in England, 110,892 (1.3%) in Wales,  46,772 in Australia (4.6%), 32,408 (3.2%) in Canada, 22,598 (2.2%) in South Africa, 6,383 (0.6%) in New Zealand, 40,722 (0.5%) in Ireland, and 27,803 (0.4%) in Scotland.

The 1891 census shows hat the Harris family name was predominant in the following southern counties of England: London - 13,536 (17%), Devon - 3,918 (4.9%), Warwickshire - 3,749 (4.7%), Gloucestershire - 3,313 (4.2%), Worcestershire - 2,963 (3.7%), Kent - 2,867 (3.6%), Hampshire - 2,321 (2.9%), Essex - 2,276 (2.9%), Somerset - 2,028 (2.5%), and Middlesex - 1,977 (2.5%).

There were also many entries relating to the surname on the 1881 census of Gloucestershire, where there were 3,428 occurrences.

Early bearers of the surname include: Willelmo Harries, who appears in the poll tax of 1379 (Devizes, Wilts); Willelmo Herys, 1379 poll tax (Luton, Beds); Isabella Harreis, 1381 poll tax (Fairford, Gloucs); William Harrys, 1406 in Eynsham Cartulary (Oxon); Lawrence Harryes, 1468 Fine Rolls (Herts); John Harys, 1540 (Saint Peter's parish register, Sandwich, Kent); George Haris, 1554 (Coleshill, Warwicks); Ralfe Harris, 1575 (Isle of Sheppey parish register, Kent).

It is believed that the first recorded spelling of the family name was John Harry, which dated back to 1273 in the "Hundred Rolls" of the county of Buckinghamshire. This was during the reign of King Edward 1st, also known as "The Hammer of the Scots" (1272 - 1307).

A John Harris from Gloucestershire was transported as a convict to Australia aboard the 'Ann' in August 1809, settling in New South Wales, Australia.

The most common Harris occupation in the UK in 1881 was Agricultural Labourer, followed by Labourer and Farmer as the top 3 reported jobs worked by Harris. A less common occupation for the Harris family was Coal Miner. 

Geographically, the locative town named Harris and Harriseahead can be found in United Kingdom. Harris is located in Scotland on the largest island in the Outer Hebrides and is the most mountainous part of the island. Harriseahead is a village located in the county of Staffordshire.

Notable people

  • Rodney Harris CBE, FRCP, FRCPath (1932-2017) was a British geneticist, Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians (FRCP) and a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists (FRCPath). 
  • Dr Derek Harris was the founder of Aston Science Park, now known as Birmingham Science Park, Aston. Visitors to the site included Prince Edward, Duke of Kent in 1985. 
  • Lindsay Jane Harris L.V.O., British Lady in Waiting to Princess Michael of Kent, was appointed Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order on 29th December 2018. 
  • Derek Edward Harris O.B.E., from Ashford Kent. A British Member for Minds Matter Trading Activities Board who was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire on 29th December 2018 for services to charity and to Charitable Fundraising.



1881, 1891 Census

Dictionary of American Family Homes, P Hanks OUP 2003

Homes of Family Names in Great Britain, H.B. Guppy, London 1890

International Genealogical Index,

The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland, P.Hanks, Coats, McClure OUP 2016

1860 Lower, Mark A Patronymica Britannica: a dictionary of the family names of the United Kingdom, London: J.R Smith. Public Domain

1857 Arthur, William An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. New York: Sheldon, Blakeman. Public Domain


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Birgit Blume

I am looking for Harris family members from London and Dublin. They were of jewish faith. I would appreciate any support/information, although I am not a relative. Joseph Harris (1793-1864, father Tsevi Hirsh) and Rachel Costa (about 1805-1866, father Benjamin Zeev Wolf) came from Poland, Breslau as I asume. They lived in London and had 9 children: Morris (Moses) (1823-1909), who moved to Dublin. Grandfather of William and Harry Sinclair, ... Lewis (1826-) Wolf (1829-) Deborah (1832-) Leah (1832-) Jane (1835-) Sarah (1840-) Catherine (1841-1908) married Robert Wade Probably at least one family member emigrated to America. Please help.

Patricia Harris

I am looking for Harris coat of arms the one with a monkey on

Rhonda Harris

I was born from the parents of Dennis Gerald Harris and Linda Diane Blair, I’m assuming we descend from Scotland and Ireland, I took a DNA test it showed I was Irish, Scottish and British can anyone help with the decency?

Sherry Hathcoat

Trying to find the names of willis harris parents. He was born in 1814 virginia and married elizabeth ?. She was born 1812 north carolina. Willis had a son named charlie harris who married margaret tipton. Please help.


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