Select Harvey Surname Genealogy

The name Harvey is thought to be a Gallicized version of the name Herve - coming from an older Breton name of Aeruiu or Haerviu which comprised the elements haer meaning "battle" and vy "worthy." 

Herve was apparentlly a minstrel of ancient Brittany and the name was thought to have been brought to England, perhaps in legend or in song, by Breton mercenaries at the time of the Norman conquest.  The Domesday Book contained several references to Herve as a first name, such Herueu de Berruarus in Suffolk. 

Spelling variants are Hervey and, in Scotland, Harvie.

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England.  Early Harveys were Hervey le Breton, a Breton cleric who became the first bishop of Ely in 1109 and Hervey de Leon, the forebear of the Harveys of Ickwell Bury in Bedfordshire. 

Norfolk  Some think that the first use of Harvey as a surneme occurred in Norfolk on the east coast.  This part of England was certainly the home of three illustrious Harvey families:
  • Harveys in Beachamwell parish records in Norfolk date from the 1500's.  John Harvey of Beachamwell founded the Norwich branch of the family.  They were Norwich's leading merchants and civic leaders during the 18th century.
  • a branch of the Hervey family from Thurleigh in Bedfordshire became masters of Ickworth Hall in Suffolk (near Bury St. Edmunds) in the early 1500's and were prominent in court during Tudor times. These Ickworth Herveys, pronounced Harveys, soon developed a reputation for eccentricity, as Lady Mary Wortley's jibe would suggest: "There are three types of human beings; men, women and Herveys."  Other Herveys from this family settled in Romford, Essex.
  • the Harveys of Chigwell in Essex came originally from Folkestone in Kent.  This merchant family boasted William Harvey, who discovered the circulation of blood, and, later, Admiral Eliab Harvey, an eccentric and hot-tempered naval officer who nevertheless distinguished himself at the battle of Trafalgar.  Richard Morris's 2007 book, Merchants, Medicine and Trafalgar: The History of the Harvey Family, describes these Harveys.
SW England  There were also Harveys in the southwest of England.  Harveys in Ashill (near Taunton) in Somerset date from the early 1500's.  Turner Harvey of Ashill was acclaimed as "a renowned archer and warrior who fought for Henry VIII."  There were more Harveys further west in Devon and Cornwall. 

Harveys in Linkinhorne in Cornwall (near Bodmin Moor) started in Elizabethan times.  And there was a Harvey line at Maen near Penzance soon after.  Harveys became more prominent during the hey-day of Cornish mining.  The Harveys of Chacewater, there from the early 1700's, were miners; and John Harvey established his famous foundry for mine equipment on the coast at Hayle in 1800.  From a Harvey family in St. Ives came the Bristol Harveys, creators of Harvey's Bristol Cream sherry.

Many Harveys left the area or emigrated when Cornish mining collapsed in the 1860's.  Robert Harvey was one who came back.  He had gone with a group of Gwennap miners to Peru in 1872, made his fortune in nitrate mines there, and returned in 1885 a rich man. 

Channel Islands.  The Harveys in Guernsey may have come originally from Cornwall.  They made their money in the 18th century from shipping and privateering, which they used to expand their land holdings on the island.  The most well-known of these Harveys was a daughter, Margaret Anne, who became Mrs. Neve:

"She survived three days of concussion after falling over the banister and hitting her head on a flagged floor as a small child to live to the age of 110, her life spanning three centuries (from 1792 to 1903). She had married John Neve of Kent.  After his death she returned to Guernsey in live in her picturesque old home, Rouge Huis."

She could recall the time when her father was in charge of the island militia during the Napoleonic wars.  A later Harvey, Winifred Harvey, lived through the German occupation and published her diary of those times, The Battle of Newlands, afterwards.

Scotland.  The Harvey name came north to Scotland as well.  The Harvey name was associated with the Keith clan near Aberdeen from early times.  There was also a presence in Ayrshire.   Often the spelling was Harvie.  But as the 19th century progressed the English spelling of Harvey became increasingly predominant.

.  Many of the Harveys in Ireland were originally of English extraction.  They were to be found in Ulster (mainly in Armagh and Tyrone) and in county Wexford.

The earliest English arrival appears to have been a Harvey family from Bosworth in Liecestershire which settled in Wexford in the 1590's.  They later owned Bargy castle and were one of the leading families of south Wexford.  Bagenal Harvey of this family, a plotter in the 1798 rebellion, met an untimely end when that revolt was quashed. 

Harveys from Cornwall came to Derry as part of the Protestant plantations of the early 1600's.  They established themselves at Malin Hall in Ennishowen, Donegal.  Another Harvey family, this time from Scotland, was in Derry by the late 1600's.

Harvey may also be Irish.  A Galway clan originally called O'hAirmheadhaigh, meaning "the descendant of the son of Airmed," was said to have anglicized their name to Harvey; as apparently did the O'hEarchaidhs of county Fermanagh. 

Early Harveys (and Herveys) included:
  • Nicholas Hervey, a Catholic, who was one of the first settlers in Maryland.  He arrived on the Ark and the Dove from Essex in 1634.
  • Thomas and William Harvey from Somerset who landed in Dorchester, Massachusetts in 1636 and later moved onto Boston.
  • Thomas Harvey, who was to be found in Perquimans county, North Carolina in the 1680's.  A descendant, Blassingame Harvey, was one of the pioneer settlers in Texas.
  • Onesiphorus Hervey, possibly from Cornwall, who was in Northumberland counry, Virginia by 1702.  A descendant is believed to be Thomas Hervey of Halifax county, North Carolina.
  • two Quaker Harveys, Joseph (from Staffordshire) and William (from Worcestershire), who came to Pennsylvania in 1702 and 1712 respectively.
  • and the Scots Irish Henry Hervey who left county Monaghan in 1770 and settled in Brooke county, Virginia (close to the Pennsylvania line).  His farm there was still in the possession of his son David 107 years later.
Many Harveys followed the migration westward in the 19th century.  Turlington Harvey left New York for Chicage in the 1850's.  He became a wealthy lumberman there and organized a real estate syndicate to promote his new town of Harvey, Illinois.  Isaac Harvey headed west from Indiana for the goldfields of California and ended up as the first mayor of Salinas City.

"His wife Sarah's life mirrored her restless husband's, moving many times from Indiana to Missouri and across the plains in a covered wagon to California and the gold rush towns.  Along the way Sarah gave birth to ten children.  She buried five of them as infants and one as a young man of sixteen."

Fred Harvey, an Englishman, found his metier in Kansas in the 1870's when he started the Harvey House chain of restaurants, souvenir shops, and hotels along the route of the railroad.  They continued until the 1960's.  A film musical which paid tribute to his business, The Harvey Girls, was made in 1946.  It starred Judy Garland.      

A Harvey family was one of the first settlers of Bermuda in the 1600's.  Samuel Harvey was recorded as a member of the Assembly in 1696 and there were various other Harveys on the island by that time.  These Harveys had become involved in trade with Newfoundland by 1700 and they gradually moved their business there during the 19th century.
The early Harveys on Canada's Eastern Seaboard were from diverse places. 

James Harvie and his family came from Ayrshire in Scotland via Rhode Island to Nova Scotia in 1760.  These "New England planters" had been given grants of land there after the French had vacated the area.  Harvie's land was in Newport Landing and was handed down to his descendants.  It is still partly with the Harvie family today. 

A Harvey fishing family from the Channel Islands came to the Newfoundland coast in 1810.  And Eugenius Harvey arrived from Bermuda in 1820 to establish Harvey & Company, one of Newfoundland's most successful business enterprises.  The company has been involved primarily in shipping and the fish trade and it still operates out of St. John's today.  Later there was a Moses Harvey from Armagh in Ireland who arrived in St. John's in 1852 to be the pastor of its Presbyterian Free Church.   

The mining slump in Cornwall saw many Cornish miners head for Australia and, in particular, to the Kapunda mine in South Australia.  They included a number of Harveys:
  • John and Elizabeth Harvey, who reached Adelaide on the Waterloo in 1840
  • George and Mary Harvey, who arrived there around the same time
  • and Arthur and Elizabeth Harvey, who came on the Robert Lees in 1876.
The sporting Harveys were from these Cornish mining roots.  Four of the sons of Horace and Elsie Harvey became first-class cricketers, the most prominent of them being Neil Harvey who represented his country in 79 Test matches between 1948 and 1963.

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

Select Harvey Names

William Harvey
discovered the circulation of the blood in 1616.
Bagenal Harvey was an early leader of the 1798 Rebellion in Ireland.
John Harvey developed in the 1860's the sherry known as Harvey's Bristol Cream.
Alfred Harvey was the founder of the comic book publishers Harvey Comics in the 1930's.
Laurence Harvey, born Hirsh Skikne in Lithuania, was a British film star of the 1960's.

Select Harveys Today
  • 65,000 in the UK (most numerous in Surrey)
  • 42,000 in America (most numerous in Texas)
  • 34,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia).

PS.  You might want to check out the surnames page on this website.  It covers surname genealogy in this and companion websites for more than 800 surnames.

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