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Surname Harnett - Meaning and Origin

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Harnett: What does the surname Harnett mean?

The last name ‘Harnett’ is believed to have been brought to Ireland from England in the 13th or 14th Century. In Ireland, it is most heavily concentrated in counties Mayo and Donegal.

The Harnett surname is thought to have originated from the old Gaelic surname ‘Ó hEarnáin’, which translates to ‘descendant of Earnán’ in English. The name ‘Earnán’ is a Gaelic personal name composed of two elements, ‘eag’ and ‘dubhán’, meaning ‘sharp’ and ‘black’, respectively. It is possible that the progenitor of the Harnett family was someone with an identification with a black bird or a black animal of some type.

The years since the introduction of the Harnett surname have seen family members scattered all around the world. Family members have been known to hold important positions such as Members of Parliament in Ireland, Canada and the Bahamas as well as professor posts at some of the most prestigious universities in the United States.

And while the descendants of the original Harnett family are now spread all over the world, the proud heritage of their Irish ancestors lives on and continues to be a source of pride for the extended family.

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Harnett: Where does the name Harnett come from?

The last name Harnett is most commonly found in Ireland, the United Kingdom, and Australia. It originates with the O'Hernaidhe sept of Ulster, settled in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, in the 12th century.

The family who bore this name belonged to the powerful O'Neill dynasty of Tyrone, and were a branch of the O'Hernaidhe sept within County Antrim. Following the Plantation of Ulster in the early 1600s, families of the name spread to the counties of Mayo, Cork, Down, Tipperary, Laoise, and Wexford.

The Harnett name can also be found in other countries, such as the United States, South Africa, Canada, New Zealand, and France. In the US, particularly, most of the Harnetts are believed to be descendants of Irish immigrants who traveled to America during the Great Famine of 1845-1849.

The family name has numerous variants, including Harrington, Hornet, Hornett, and Hearnett, among others.

Today, the last name Harnett is most prevalent in Ireland, especially in the south and southeast. It is also very common in the United Kingdom, particularly in London and East Anglia. Additionally, the surname Harnett is popular in Australia, particularly in Victoria and Queensland.

Variations of the surname Harnett

The surname Harnett is of English-Irish origin. Variants of this name include Arnot, Arnet, Harnette, Arnette, Harent, Arnete, Harrott, Arnott, and Arnotte.

The earliest known occurrence of the name is from 1250 when it is recorded as "Aruat". Over time, the spelling of the surname evolved in England and Ireland as "Harnet" in the 14th century and "Harnott" in the 16th century. Later spellings include "Harnette" in the 18th century and "Harnett" in the 19th century.

Harnett is a common spelling of the surname in Ireland, England, and Scotland. It is also found as an Americanized version of the Irish-Gaelic surname "O Fearneáil". Variants of this surname are found throughout the United States, Canada, and Australia.

In Ireland, Arnot, Arnette, and Arnotte are found as variants of the name, while Arnott and Arnette are found as variants of the name in England and Scotland. Harrott is considered a variant of the name found in Scotland and England.

Other related surnames include Harnes, Harnett-Armstrong, Harned, Harney, Harness, and Harney-Craib. These surnames may have derived from different sources, however, the spelling of the name can be linked back to the original family name.

Famous people with the name Harnett

  • Josh Harnett: American actor, producer, and singer
  • Viola Harnett: American illustrator and comics artist
  • Kenneth Harnett: Professional racing driver who competed in seven Formula One Grands Prix
  • Cora Harnett: British opera singer
  • Oliver Harnett: English lawyer and politician
  • Jay Harnett: Canadian radio host and comedian
  • James Harnett: American politician, served in the Illinois House of Representatives
  • Erin Harnett: Lead singer and songwriter in the rock band Starbelly
  • Gerald Harnett: Former professional ice hockey player and coach
  • Marjorie Harnett: Former Warden of the St. Lawrence River
  • Janice Harnett: Canadian artist and stained glass window maker
  • Terry Harnett: Former COO of Merrill Lynch
  • Diane Harnett: Former Communications Director for the AARP
  • Laura Harnett: British member of the Conservative Party
  • Hobart Harnett: American jazz musician and composer

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