Hawthorne Surname Genealogy

surname in olden times denoted someone who lived by a bush or hedge of
hawthorn. The Old English word was haegborn or hagethorn and meant “thorn
used for making hedges and
enclosures.” The main surname spelling
variants today are Hawthorne and
with Hathorne and Hathorn less in use now

Hawthorne Resources on

Hawthorne Ancestry

England. The
first evidence of the Hawthorne name in England
was the village of Hagethorn (now called Hawthorn) in the parish of
in Durham in which, according to priory records, William de Hagethorn
living in 1155. Whether there was
succession from him is not known, although there have been some
suggestions that the Scottish Hawthornes may have come from Durham.

The Hawthorn
place-name was also found in Staffordshire.
One family line began with the marriage of William Hawthorne and
Elizabeth Hemming there in 1682. The
county had about 20% of the English Hawthorns and
Hawthornes in the 1881 census.

Hawthornes at Bray in
Berkshire date back to the mid-1400’s.
However, this line was later much more important for America
than for
England. Some oral history of these
survived in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s story An
Old Woman’s Tale
. Hawthorns
in nearby Sunninghill have been traced to the early 1800’s.

Scotland. Hawthorn in
Scotland is an old Galloway name of SW Scotland. The
name first appeared in Kirkinner parish
records in 1455. They were in later
years proprietors of Meikle Aires in that parish. Some of them crossed to Ireland at the time
of the Ulster plantation, such as Elizabeth Hawthorn of Meikle Aires
who arrived
in Derry in 1690.

Hawthorns in the 19th
century included some Scots Irish such as Steel Hawthorn, who came to
work in
the coal mines in Lanarkshire in the 1820’s, and William Hawthorn,
recorded as
a cotton weaver in Ayr in the 1850’s.

Ireland. Early sightings of the
Hawthorne name in
Ireland were sparse, although they were clearly there because of the
migrations to America in the 18th century.
Some Scots Irish Hawthorns recorded at that time in Ulster were:

  • William
    Hawthorn who was born at Annaghmore in Derry in 1718.
  • Archibald
    Hawthorn of
    Legananny who died at Aghderg in Down in 1749.
  • and
    James Hawthorn who was
    recorded at Islandmagee in Antrim in 1772.

Rev. Samuel Hawthorne
was the Presbyterian minister at
Kircubbinin county
Down from 1869 to 1912. From his family
came William Hawthorne, an electrical engineer who moved to England in
early 1900’s; and his son William, born in Newcastle, who was knighted
for his
work on the development of the jet engine.

The 1890 census revealed 27
Hawthorne families in Ireland, of whom 23 were to be found in Antrim,
Down and

Hathornes of Bray in Berkshire contributed two Hathorne lines, one in
Massachusetts and the other in the South.

Massachusetts. William Hathorne came
to New England with
Governor Winthrop on the Arbella
in 1630, moving to Salem six years later. He
was prominent in the defense of the town
against Indians. He also prospered, as
did his son John, as a merchant. However,
there was a darker side to both of
these men:

  • William
    Hathorne was a bitter persecutor of Quakers, remembered in
    particular for the whipping of Ann Coleman in 1662.
  • while
    John Hathorne was the
    presiding judge in the Salem witch trials of 1692, from whence is
    supposed to
    have come the
    Hathorne curse

Hathorne was the great great grandfather of the
writer Nathaniel Hawthorne, born in Salem in 1804, who was thought to
added the “w” to his name just to distance himself from his ancestors.

A younger
John of this family had moved from Salem to Lynn around the year 1650. He was not like the other early Hathorne
men. He was not on the bench or running
the affairs of a pious Puritan colony.
He ran taverns instead and there were many reports of
drunkenness in his
house. A descendant was General John
Hathorn who fought in the Revolutionary War.
His home at Warwick in upstate New York, built in 1773, still

family story through seven generations was narrated in Vernon Loggins’
book The Hawthornes.

South. John Hawthorne came to Surry
county, Virginia
from Bray in Berkshire around the year 1700.
His descendants later moved to Robeson county, North Carolina. The main lines from there went:

  • from
    William Hawthorn,
    a Baptist minister, who in the 1820’s was
    among the first
    men to
    settle in what is now Grady county in SW Georgia.
  • from
    Kedar Hawthorne to the Rev. Kedar Hawthorne who moved to Conecuh
    Alabama around 1820 and converted there to the Baptist faith. His brothers Nathaniel and Dennis were also
    Baptist ministers and his son James B. Hawthorne,
    a pastor in Atlanta and Nashville, was a strong preacher in the
    Baptist tradition.
  • from
    Joshua Hawthorne to Joseph Richard Hawthorne who was a
    wealthy landowner and planter first in Conecuh and then in Wilcox
    Alabama. His Hawthorne House at Pine
    Apple, built in
    1854, is a historic plantation house.

Some other Hawthornes were from Ireland. Adam
Hawthorn left county Monaghan as part of
a Presbyterian exodus for Charleston, South Carolina in 1767. He settled in what is now Winnsboro,

Then Samuel Hawthorne, thought to have been from somewhere in Ireland,
came to
Mercer county, Pennsylvania in the 1770’s.
His grandsons James (J.C.) and William were both adventurous

  • J.C.
    Hawthorne studied medicine which he first practiced when he arrived in
    California in 1850. Seven years later he
    moved to Oregon where he established a county hospital in Portland. He was considered a pioneer in treating
    mental illness there.
  • while
    his cousin William Hawthorne arrived in California
    in 1856, having taken the longer route via the isthmus.
    He too moved on, in this case to Nevada in
    1860 where he prospered and became a judge.

Baskin Hathorn, born in Ireland (possibly Cork),
immigrated first to South Carolina, and then to Georgia, and finally
settled in
Covington county, Mississippi around 1818.
He was probably responsible for the large number of Hathorns
found in
Mississippi. He and his son Nevin were
both slave-owners.

possibly related Hathorn family had its origin in Nick Hathorn, who was
born in
South Carolina and came to Covington county around 1825.
His son Daniel Hathorn was friends with the Wild
Bill Sullivan of the Mississippi backwoods.
The Hathorn name also cropped up in nearby Jefferson Davis

The Federal census of
1860 had no fewer than 60 slaves named Hathorn recorded in the state. Pauline Hathorn, who grew up on the Paradise
plantation in Dover during the Great Depression, charted her remarkable
journey from that lowly position in her 2009 book Escape
from Paradise

and Eliza Hawthorne
Derry for Ontario in 1848, eventually settling in
Morris township in Huron county. Many of
their descendants later migrated west, to Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Meanwhile Robert Hawthorne left Antrim for
Ontario in the same year of 1848 and settled in Ross township in
Renfrew county
with his second wife Ann. All these
pioneer settlers lived to a grand old age – James to ninety, Eliza to
two, Robert to eighty five, and Ann to ninety two.

Australia and New Zealand. The
Hawthornes shown here also had Irish origins.
James Hawthorne departed Belfast in 1840 at the age of seventeen
arrived in Sydney late that year on the Royal
. He married and settled
down there. Alfred Hawthorne was born in
London, although his father had come there from Ireland.
He was in New Zealand by the early 1870’s where
he eventually made his home in Birmingham

Hawthorne Miscellany

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

Hawthorne Names


was a 19th century
American novelist and short story writer.
Michael Hawthorn
the British racing
driver who became the UK’s first F1 World Racing Champion in 1958.
a British actor best
known for his scheming civil servant Sir Humphrey in the TV series Yes Minister

Select Hawthornes Today

  • 6,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Northern Ireland)
  • 6,000 in America (most numerous in Texas)
  • 5,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)



Click here for return to front page

Leave a Reply