Hart

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Hart Surname Genealogy

Hart
meaning a “stag” was found as heorot
in Old English, as well as in German and with variants in Dutch and
Swedish. Its medieval development as a
surname would seem to have been as a nickname, with the bearer having
the
speedy attributes of a stag. Hart has
also from an early time in England and America been Jewish, a
convenient
anglicized name for German Jewish immigrants.  
The main spelling variant is Harte.

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Hart Resources on
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Hart Ancestry

England.
There
was a Harte family recorded at Westmill in Hertfordshire in the 13th
century. Later came the Elizabethan
knight Sir Percival Harte who died at Lullingstone near Eynsford in
Kent in
1580; and later still the Harte-Dykes after Anne Harte married Sir
Thomas Dyke
in 1728. Lullingstone manor house, first begun in 1497, remains
in Harte-Dyke
hands.

Harts were also to be found in
Northolt, Middlesex from possibly 1460 and later in Highgate village
near
London. Various Harts were recorded in
parish records in Suffolk (near Ipswich) and in Essex in the 16th
century. Stephen Hart the Puritan departed
Braintree,
Essex for New England in 1632.

The name
Hart has been associated with witches in SE Essex – old witch Hart of
Rochford
swimming in the Crouch river in the 1740’s and Harriet Hart of
Latchingdon, the
last in a line of Hart witches
a
century later.

“Harriet
Hart was
notorious for having committed the commonplace crimes of witchcraft,
causing
storms, blighting crops in the field and bewitching pigs.
Unlike others of her kind, however, she seemed
to have been blessed with a sense of humor.”


Harriet ended up in the Maldon union workhouse in Essex where
she died
in 1897.


Jewish. Hart is
also a Jewish name. There could have been Jewish Harts in
London at the time of
Cromwell. History records the arrival of Moses and Aaron Hertz,
later Hart, from Silesia around 1697. Moses
Hart prospered and founded the
first synagogue in London – with Aaron as its first rabbi.

“The Hart family was first represented in Richmond by Moses
Hart of Breslau, a Government agent under Queen Anne. In 1716 he
moved across the river to Isleworth. He had a noble seat and
offices in this village, with fine gardens inferior to few palaces.”


His family intermarried with other prominent Jewish families in the
tightly-knit Ashkenazi community in London at that time.

Sometime around 1720 Ezekiel and
Judah Hirsch arrived from Bavaria, changing their name to Hart. Their son Aaron departed for Canada in 1760
at the time of the war with the French and was one of the first Jews to
settle in Quebec. Notable Harts of the 19th
century in London were the painter Solomon Hart, the first Jewish
member of the Royal Academy, and Henry Naphtali Hart who spent many
years in Argentina and founded the first synagogue in Buenos Aires in
1852.

Scotland. The
Hart name had extended into Scotland by the 14th century.
A family of this name were burgesses in Edinburgh, with Edward
sitting for Parliament in 1586 and his brother Andrew being the printer
for the King. But the main numbers later were
around Glasgow and Paisley in Lanarkshire.

Ireland.
Irish Harts came from O’hArt (descendant of Art) and originated, as one
of the four tribes of Tara, from county Meath. The name
later spread westward to Sligo. It was also to be found in
Leitrim and Roscommon.

Sligo. The
O’Harts of Newtown, Ardtarmon and
Grange were extensive landowners in Sligo until the confiscations of
the 17th century. They were
dispossessed of the last of their Grange estates
in 1833.
The spelling in Sligo tended to become Harte. The
1901
census for Sligo revealed 13 Hartes and no Harts. Many
Hartes still live in the Calry area there.


Ulster. The
Harts
were at Ballynagard on the Derry/Donegal border since the time Captain Henry Hart was made the
military governor of the Derry and Culmore forts in the early 1600’s. The present house was built around 1700. Ballynagard stayed in Hart hands until 1980
when the property was sold. The history
was recounted in Henry Travers Hart’s 1907 book The Family
History of Hart of Donegal
.

The first of the Harts in county Armagh may
have been a Dutchman, Captain Van Hardt, who fought for William of
Orange at
the Battle of the Boyne and was said to have been granted an estate at
Kilmoriarty
in Armagh. The story goes that the captain turned out to be a
hard drinker and
ended up having to sell the estate to pay off the debtors.
Meanwhile other records indicate that there
were earlier Harts in Lisburn nearby.

These Harts in the 19th century, strict
Methodists, ran a small whiskey distillery.
Their son Robert departed for China in 1854 as a British
consular
official. Sir
Robert Hart
was to remain there until 1908 when he retired to
Armagh amid much acclaim for his achievements in China.


America.
Early
Hart arrivals to New England included the Puritan Deacon Stephen Hart from Essex who followed the Rev.
Hooker to
America in 1632 and eventually settled in Hartford, Connecticut; and
John Hart
who arrived in 1635 and also settled in Connecticut – his great
grandson John
Hart, resident in New Jersey and known as “honest John Hart,” was one
of the
signers of the Declaration of Independence.

Thomas and Mary Hart arrived in
Hanover county, Virginia around the year 1690.
Theirs is a large family in America today. Among
the descendants in Georgia was a
Benjamin Hart who married a fiery woman, Nancy
Hart
, a heroine of the Revolutionary War.
Hart county in Georgia was named for her, as was a highway, a
city and a
state.

There
were
also Scots Irish Harts who came to America.
One Scots Irish Hart family set off in 1735.

“The
vessel on which they sailed was more
than four months on the voyage and during this period of time the
husband died
and his widow gave birth to a son, whom she named Thomas. The widow and
child
landed at Bordentown, New Jersey where the mother brought up her son
until he
reached the age of manhood.”


Later Harts
of this family were to be found in Virginia, Tennessee, and Indiana. The family history was narrated in the Rev.
Charles Coffin Hart’s 1901 book Joseph
Hart and His Descendants.

Jewish. Hart was
a prominent name in the early Jewish communities in America:

  • Jewish Harts were in Charleston, South Carolina from 1745 and
    some, like Philip Hart, were active in the slave trade.
    Daniel Hart, who arrived in 1783, was a prominent Charleston citizen in
    the postwar period. Nathan Hart, who came in 1828, was a leader
    of the Charleston synagogue in the 1840’s.
  • Myer Hart was in the 1750’s one of the founders of Easton,
    Pennsylvania. Michael Hart, unrelated, became one of its
    wealthiest citizens.
  • Ephraim Hirz, later Hart, came to Philadelphia from Bavaria in
    1780. After the
    War he became a successful merchant in New York and was one of the
    founders of what was to be the New York Stock Exchange. His son
    Joel
    was a well-known doctor and mason in the city. Bernard Hart
    came to New York in 1780 and was active as a merchant there. A descendant was the writer Bret Harte.
  • Isaac Hart was, in 1750, one of the earliest Jewish settlers in
    Newport, Rhode Island. He sided with the British in the
    Revolutionary War, but met his death in 1780 by being “inhumanely fired
    upon and bayoneted” by American soldiers.

Barney Hart, a cigarmaker, was
a later Jewish immigrant from England, arriving in New York in 1894. His son Moss Hart grew up to
be a successful playwright and theater director. However, there were fewer
immigrants who called themselves Hart by that time. John D.
Hertz, for instance, came to America in 1884 but kept his Hertz
name.
Thus we have Hertz Rental Cars, not Hart Rental Cars.

Canada.
Aaron Hart was an
early Jewish settler in Lower Canada (Quebec). He invested in the
fur trade, prospered, and made his estate around
Trois-Rivieres. His three sons – Moses, Ezekiel, and Benjamin –
all became successful in business in their own right, with Ezekiel
Hart an elected politician despite anti-Jewish prejudice which
surfaced in 1807 in the Hart affair. A
descendant Cece Hart was coach of the Montreal Canadien ice hockey team
in the 1920’s. The family history has been recounted in Denis
Vaugeois’s 2012 book The First Jews
in North America.

Samuel
Hart, also Jewish, moved from London to Nova Scotia via
Philadelphia in 1785. However, after some early success there as
a
merchant he encountered the same prejudice as Ezekiel Hart and died in
1810 almost
penniless.

Caribbean. Many
Harts in the Caribbean appear to have a Jewish origin.
One Hart family came to Montego Bay in
Jamaica in the 1780’s. The businessman
Tony Hart is the seventh generation of these Harts who attended Munro
College. Another Hart family began with
Daniel Hart
who came to Trinidad in 1825.

South Africa. Robert
Hart, born in Scotland, came to South Africa with the British Army
first in
1795 and then returned ten years later to stay.
In 1817 he and his family trekked northwest of Grahamstown to
farm in
the wilderness there.

“A great pioneer, a great
farmer and a great gentleman, Robert Hart remained to the end of his
days in
the district which he himself had put on the map. In
his later years this austere, God-fearing
old man became a legend on the frontier which he had done as much as
any single
individual to establish and civilize.”


He
died at his frontier home of Glen Avon at the age of ninety in 1867.


Select
Hart Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:


Select
Hart Names

Aaron Hart is
considered to be the founder of Canadian Jewry.
Francis Bret Harte was a 19th
century American writer of short stories and humorous verse.
Sir Robert Hart was a British consular official in China from 1854 to
1908 who played an important role in China’s relations with the West at
that time.

Sir Basil Liddell Hart was an
English soldier and military historian of the mid 20th century.
Stu Hart is the patriarch of
the Hart wrestling family from Calgary in Canada.

Select Harts Today

  • 46,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Surrey)
  • 51,000 in America (most numerous in California)
  • 24,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)

 

 

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