Hardy Surname Genealogy

is an English and French surname that is derived from the Old French
word hardi meaning “bold” or
“courageous” or sometimes “foolhardy.” It
probably emerged
initially as a nickname for someone exhibiting those traits.
and Hardie
are the two main spellings of the name.
is the Scottish version.
French Hardys include the 17th century playwright Alexandre Hardy and
the 20th century singer Francoise Hardy.
But the French Hardys are outnumbered by the English Hardys by
more than
two to one. Still, many of the English Hardys may have had
some French blood in them.

Hardy Resources on

Hardy Ancestry

country may bring to mind the county of Dorset and the novels of Thomas
Hardy. But Hardy country should more properly be considered as
Yorkshire where the first English Hardys may have originated and which
has the
largest number of Hardys today.

Yorkshire. An
early Hardy
family of Yorkshire was said to have been descended from the Norman
knight de Hardie
in the 11th century. The first traceable
record was a John de Hardy of Wetwang, Driffield in the mid-1400’s. A later
John de Hardy,
born around
1500 and thought to have been a descendant, made
his mark as a merchant in London and married well
. George
Hardy from his family emigrated to Virginia in 1646.

Hardy Flatts formed part of the Whitwell village in north
Yorkshire. A Widow Hardy was recorded as
choking on a piece of bread near there in the 1500's. Ed
Hardy was a carter in the area in the early
1700's. And Hardys at Thornton Dale at
in north Yorkshire date from the late 1600's.

One Hardy
family in Yorkshire seems to have originated in Westmoreland. These Hardys were first recorded at Kirkby
Lonsdale in 1571 on the death of Edmund Hardy. Their
home was Park House, some two miles
outside of the town. From this line came
the curate and schoolmaster Rev. John Hardy of Kirkburton near
Huddersfield. He subsequently acquired the Birksgate manor house. From this line also came the Rev. Thomas
Hardy, the vicar of Mirfield. The family
history was recounted in Charles Hardy’s 1913 book The
Hardys of Barbon

Hardys in Yorkshire included:

  • Thomas
    Carteret Hardy, a
    colonel in the York Fusiliers in the 1780’s (he may have had Jersey
    roots as
    the Carterets were an important family in the Channel Islands). From his line came the Victorian brother
    and antiquarians Thomas Duffy and William Hardy.
  • while
    John Hardy from humble roots in Horsforth near Leeds (his grandfather
    was a farm laborer there in the 1670’s) became the principal owner of
    the Low Moor
    ironworks near Bradford in the early 1800’s. His
    son Gathorne was a prominent Conservative politician and
    created the Earl of Cranbrook in 1892.
  • and
    John Hardy from the Bradford area in the early 1800’s was the forebear
    of the Hardys
    of Odsal House in North Bierley.

Channel Islands.
There was
a Le Hardy family at Jersey in the Channel Islands ever since
Clement Le Hardy left France for that island in the 1360’s. A later Clement le Hardy was Bailiff of Jersey from
1485 to 1493, but seems to have ended his days in a “verminous prison”
after a disagreement with the Governor.

Jean Le Hardy was the Solicitor General of Jersey in the
1650’s. Via his eldest son John came:

  • Sir Thomas
    , a Rear Admiral of the British Navy who died in 1732
    and had a monument to him erected in Westminster Abbey.

Via a younger son Philip, appointed Commissioner of
Garrisons on the neighboring island of
Guernsey, came Charles
who pursued a career in the British Navy and rose to be Lord
Commissioner of the Admiralty.
Charles was:

  • the
    father of Admiral Sir Charles Hardy, the colonial Governor
    of New York in 1755
  • the
    father of Josiah
    Hardy, the colonial Governor of New Jersey in 1763
  • and
    the grandfather of Temple Hardy, a naval
    captain who saw action during the French
    Revolutionary Wars.

Dorset. Jean Le Hardy
was said to have departed Jersey for Dorset around the year 1490.
Possibly related were the Hardyes recorded at Sydling from about
1540. Thomas Hardye gave his name to the Thomas Hardye school in
Dorchester, completed in 1569. His nephew Francis was the
forebear of Nelson’s flag captain Thomas Hardy
and the writer Thomas Hardy:

  • the
    Hardys of Portersham led to the Captain Thomas Hardy who was
    immortalized by Nelson’s dying words of Kiss
    me Hardy
    at Trafalgar in
  • while
    the line to Thomas Hardy the writer, who was born in Dorchester in
    began with the marriage of John Hardey and Elizabeth Swyre in
    Owermoigne in 1746.

Hardie has been considered to have either Norman, Viking or Celtic
origins. The Viking origin refers to a Viking Hard tribe that had
raided the British coast in the 10th century. The Celtic
explanation came later. It was thought that many
MacHardies in Aberdeenshire shortened their name to Hardie to avoid
reprisals after the Highland defeat at Culloden in 1746. Overall,
the Norman explanation seems the most plausible.

Hardie has been mainly a Lowland Scottish name. William Hardy was
recorded at Lanarkshire in the Ragman’s Roll of 1296. The
spelling changed later to Hardie. One family history began with
the marriage of Robert Hardie and Marion Campbell at Alloa near
Stirling in 1663; another with the marriage of David Hardie and Agnes
Myles near Leuchars in Fife around the year 1690. Matthew Hardie
was a highly-regarded violin-maker in Edinburgh in the early 1800’s,
but he died poor.


Hardy in Ireland was generallly a name of English import, mainly found
in Ulster. But there was also a Hardy family of French Huguenot
origin in Ireland. Henry Hardy had first come to London from La
Rochelle in France in the early 1700’s. His family later decided
to settle in Ireland, first in Dublin and then in Cork where Henry
and Marie
made their home.

America. The early Hardys
Hardies in America were covered in Claude and Edwin Hardy’s
1935 book Hardy and Hardie.

New England.
Thomas and John Hardy were thought to have been two brothers who came
to Boston under Governor Winthrop in 1630. Thomas settled first
in Ipswich before moving onto Bradford, Massachusetts. His home
there was known as Groveland.
His descendants were numerous. Meanwhile John made his home in

Hardy name has been perpetuated in Salem in many ways. There is a
Hardy Street, Hardy Rock, Hardy Wharf, and the Hardy House which was
the birthplace of Nathaniel Hawthorne.”

. George Hardy from the Driffield family in
Yorkshire came to Virginia in 1646, followed by his parents John and
Olive twenty years later. He was the owner of the famous Hardy
mill in Isle of Wight county, built soon after his arrival and
continuing in use into the 20th century. The mill remained in
Hardy hands until 1800:

  • Samuel Hardy was a delegate to the Continental Congress in the
    1780’s. Hardy county in West Virginia was named in his honor.
  • Thomas Hardy migrated south with his family in 1785 to
    county, South Carolina
    . The Hardys were to remain on
    plantation home there until 1973.
  • Robert Hardy came to Chatham county, North Carolina around the
    year 1800. His line led to W.H. Hardy, the founder of the
    towns of Hattiesburg and Laurel in Mississippi.
  • while another branch of the family headed to
    James G. Hardy was elected its Lieutenant Governor in 1854 and
    Hardyville in Kentucky was later named after him.

The family story was told in Betty Couch’s 1998 book Our Hardy Heritage.

Hardy, a sea captain, was possibly related to these Hardys. Born
in Virginia, he made his home in Chatham, Massachusetts in 1776.
On one cold winter’s day ten years later, he and his party froze to
death on their boat on their way to Boston. His wife died soon
after and their children became orphans. Remarkably these Hardys
later established themselves as a notable New England family. The

line was covered in Whitney Durand’s 2011 booklet Descendants
of Josiah Hardy

Pennsylvania. There
were Hardys who came later to Pennsylvania.
Their numbers included:

  • Robert
    Hardie who emigrated to Pennsylvania from
    Scotland in the 1740’s. His son Robert
    and grandson David both served with the US Navy, Robert in the
    War and David in the War of 1812.
  • William
    Hardy, reportedly from Ireland, who came
    to Somerset county sometime in the 1770’s. His
    descendants migrated west to Indiana and Iowa.
  • and
    Jonas Hardy, the son of a Leeds woolen
    manufacturer, who arrived with his family at Lycoming city in the early
    1820’s. They moved onto Illinois in 1837

Thomas Hardy

emigrated from Devon to
South Australia in 1850. He is believed
to have been related to the Captain Thomas Hardy of HMS
fame in 1805.

Thomas started a vineyard in South
Australiain 1853 and soon became the acknowledged wine grower in the
region. Thomas Hardy and Sons was his
wine company and his son Robert and grandson Kenneth and great grandson
Robert all
followed in his footsteps. A line also led
to Tom Hardy, killed in an airplane crash in 1938, and his son James
(later Sir
James), a champion yachtsman.

Another Hardy, this time Arthur Hardy from
Yorkshire, came out to South Australia somewhat earlier in 1839. He grew rich in business in Adelaide and was
reputedly one of the town’s wealthiest men in the early 1880’s. However, he later overstretched himself and
fell into debt. Mabel Hardy’s 1959
booklet History of the Hardy Family
told his family story in Yorkshire and Australia.

Hardy Miscellany

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

Hardy Names

the flag captain to
Admiral Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.
Thomas Hardy

was an English novelist and poet of the late 19th and
early 20th centuries. His novels were
based in the rural setting of Dorset.
Keir Hardie
was the first leader of the British Labor party,
elected in
Oliver Hardy was one part of
the comic duo of Laurel and Hardy that were popular in America in the

Select Hardys Today

  • 41,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Yorkshire)
  • 30,000 in America (most numerous in Texas)
  • 19,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)



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