Howard Surname Genealogy

The name Howard does not appear to have one single origin, but
many. One theory is that the name is derived from the Norman
French names Huard or Heward which came to England after the Norman
Conquest. Huardus, Huart and Houardus all appeared as landowners in the
Domesday Book of 1086.
Others see the Old Norse name Haward, from
ha meaning “high” and varthr “warden,” as an alternative
origin, particularly in East Anglia.Then there are occupational connotations. John Howeherde
from Derbyshire in 1348 came from “ewe-herd.” Later parish
registers find Howard often used for Hayward, the guardian of the hedge
in the feudal manorial system.
For instance, the Haywards of
Ashton under Lyme in Lancashire became Howards around  1750.
Select Howard Resources on The Internet

England. The
first recorded spelling of the family name
was probably that of Robert Howarde, dated 1221 in the rolls of Ely

The Howard family who became the Dukes of Norfolk was
originally from Norfolk and claimed a connection with the 11th century
fighter Hereward the Wake. Sir William Howard first
appeared in
records as the Chief Justice of the Common Pleas in 1277. These
the premier dukes of England, are now based at Arundel castle in
They have been through their long history staunch Catholics.

Howards were
also to be found in Cumberland in the northwest of England.
Howard, the 4th Duke of Norfolk, married into the Dacre family in the
16th century
and thereby inherited the vast Dacre estates in Cumberland. He
was soon executed for treason. But his son William re-established
the Howards there. They later became the Earls of Carlisle and built Castle Howard
north Yorkshire.

A related Howard family held Levens Hall near Kendal for many
centuries. Howards also held the Glossop estate in Derbyshire
from 1606 to 1925. Management here was usually entrusted to the
second son of the family.

By the
late 19th century the largest number of Howards in England was to be
found in
the northwest, primarily
in Lancashire
Howards at North Meols near Southport date from about 1500. They
were farmers and their family records were recorded at the local church
of St. Cuthbert’s. The Haywards of Ashton under Lyme became
Howards around 1750.

One Howard family has traced its roots in Surrey back to Thames
(which contains a Howard Street) in the 1600’s. Another Howard
family of the same timescale was to be found at Little Shelford in
Cambridgeshire. Here as in Lancashire the early spelling may have
been Hayward.

Ireland. Howard can be
Irish, either brought by the English arriving there, as with the
Howards from
Dublin who later held Shelton abbey in Wicklow; or in county Clare,
being an
anglicization of the Gaelic names O’Hiomhair or O’Huer.

America. Howard lines in Maryland
traced themselves
back to the younger portionless members of the ducal Howards who sought
fortunes in America.

Ann Howard married Cecil Calvert, Lord Baltimore; and
Mathew Howard (who was a Howard from his mother’s side) was in
by the
1630’s before settling in Anne Arundel county in Maryland in 1649, that
place being more congenial to Catholics. Two
other Howards
from the same roots settled there – Edmund Howard in Charles county and
Cornelius Howard in Baltimore county.

These Howards were part of the Maryland country gentry set. In the 1790’s John Eager Howard, a son of
was Governor and Senator for Maryland and gave his name to Howard
county. His grandson Francis Key Howard, however, was
a political prisoner by the time of the Civil War.

were other Howards of less ducal origins elsewhere.
John Howard,
formerly Hayward, arrived from
Kent with his brother on the Hercules in
1635. His family became leading
citizens of the town of Bridgewater, Massachusetts.

Others of these Howards later settled in Vermont and
Maine. One line led to Oliver Howard,
born in Maine in 1830, who was a distinguished US army general during
the Civil
War and in later campaigns against the Indians in the West. But he is best known for the founding of
Howard University in Washington DC in 1867. This
became a premier university for African American students.

James and
Elizabeth Howard were immigrants to Sydney from Hertfordshire in
England in 1855. Their grandson Walter and great grandson Lyall both
fought in
World War One
. Lyall’s son John Howard was Australia’s
Prime Minister from 1996 to 2007.

Howard Miscellany

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

Howard Names

became the first Duke of Norfolk in 1483.
Catherine Howard from this
Norfolk family was the fifth wife of Henry VIII and beheaded in 1542.
John Howard was an 18th
century English penal reformer. The Howard League for Penal
Reform was named after him.
Leslie Howard was a well-known
British actor.
was a popular English comedian noted for his risque
John Howard was Prime Minister
of Australia from 1996 to 2007.

Select Howards Today

  • 47,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Surrey)
  • 94,000 in America (most numerous in Texas)
  • 32,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)


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