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Surname Harlaw - Meaning and Origin

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Harlaw: What does the surname Harlaw mean?

The surname Harlaw comes from Old English and can be translated to mean “hare hill” or “hare’s hill”, likely a nod to the area in Scotland where it originated. The area known as Harlaw, or Harelaw, is part of a region near Aberdeen, Scotland.

The name itself is thought to originate from a hill referred to as Hare Law, near Trial Hill in Scotland. This hill is believed to have been a place of worship in the days of the ancient Britons. The name also has roots in Pictish, an ancient language of Scotland. The meaning of the name is said to date back to the Middle Ages, when it was used to describe a hill that was believed to be inhabited by woodchucks or rabbits, which were considered sacred animals in certain cultures of the period.

The name Harlaw is associated with a number of historical figures and events, including one of Scotland’s most renowned battles, the Battle of Harlaw in 1411. It was a brutal clash between Scottish clans that sparked a centuries-long rival between them and ultimately resulted in numerous changes to Scottish politics, laws, and culture.

Over the centuries, Harlaw has also been the name of a number of other places in the world, including a castle and village in England and a port in Australia. The name has been tied to numerous notable figures in history, including Ranulf de Harlaw, a Scottish nobleman from the 12th century.

Today, Harlaw is still a popular surname, especially in certain parts of Scotland. Those with the surname may find a connection to their ancient ancestors through the name’s long history.

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Harlaw: Where does the name Harlaw come from?

The last name Harlaw is most commonly found in Scotland. It is an ancient title, originating from baronial estates near Hardlaw Hill on the border between Scotland and England. The surname is found with a variety of spellings including Harlaw, Herlow, Harlowe, Herlau, Herrow and Arlew.

In more recent times, Harlaw is most prevalent in the Highlands of Scotland, particularly in Inverness-shire and Aberdeenshire. The name is also fairly common in Northern England and Northern Ireland.

Within Scotland, it is believed that the family name first originated in the county of Ayr, with others having come from Fife and Moray. The clan was adept at farming, particularly sheep, and were renowned for their bravery in battle.

Harlaw can also be found in many other countries, mainly as a result of emigration and migration in more recent times. This includes the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and many parts of Europe. There is even a small presence of the name in South Africa thanks to the Scottish diaspora.

All in all, the last name Harlaw is widespread across the world today, but its most common place is still in Scotland itself.

Variations of the surname Harlaw

The surname Harlaw has multiple variants and spellings, as well as other surnames of the same origin. Harlaw is a Scottish surname that originates from the barony of Harlaw in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, and dates back to at least the 16th century.

The most common variant spelling of Harlaw is Harlow, which derives from the Old English hær ("hill") and lau ("meadow"). Other variant spellings include Harlae, Harlau, Harlowe, Harlough, Harlugh, and Harlow.

In some instances, Harlaw has been used as a given name as well as a surname. Other surnames of the same origin include Harley, Harle, Harlee, and Harleigh.

Similar spellings commonly associated with Harlaw include Harl, Harle, Hurl, and Karle. These spellings may have also developed from the same origin as Harlaw, or are used as an Anglicised version of similar sounding foreign surnames.

The Harlaw surname has spread beyond Scotland; whilst it is most found in the United Kingdom, it has also been recorded in Australia, Canada, and the United States, amongst other countries.

Famous people with the name Harlaw

  • Dimitri Harlaw, American businessman and co-founder of Host Soldier.
  • Walter J. Harlaw, American novelist, screenwriter, and director.
  • Douglas Harlaw, British professional footballer.
  • Jessica Harlaw, Canadian fashion designer and beauty pageant titleholder.
  • Lynda Harlaw, Scottish singer, musician, and songwriter.
  • Ida Harlaw, Danish author and children's writer.
  • Edward Harlaw, British television and radio host.
  • Pamela Harlaw, British bibliographer, library scientist, and technical librarian.
  • Alexander J. Harlaw, American politician and Mayor of Lexington, Kentucky from 1933 to 1936. 10.Yvonne Harlaw, Canadian Actress and stuntwoman, star of the '90s Canadian television series, Wingin' It. 11.Eleanor Harlaw, American actress, best known for her recurring role in the original Our Gang series. 12.John Harlaw, Scottish composer and organist. 13.Michael Harlaw, British actor and stuntman. 14.William Harlaw, Scottish-American landscape painter and teacher. 15.Leif Harlaw, Norwegian film and television actor. 16.Tristán Harlaw, Spanish actor and singer. 17.Charles Harlaw, English cricketer and footballer. 18.Patrick Harlaw, Australian rugby league player. 19.David Harlaw, English footballer. 20.Victoria Harlaw, American author.

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