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Surname Tharp - Meaning and Origin

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Unraveling the Tharp Legacy - A Personal Genetic Voyage with iGENEA DNA Test

As a Tharp, I embarked on a fascinating journey into my past with the iGENEA DNA test. The test's impressive accuracy and comprehensiveness offered me a detailed understanding of my genetic history and the historical journey of my Tharp lineage, connecting deeply with my Celtic roots and enlightening context of transmigration across centuries.

B. Tharp

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Tharp: What does the surname Tharp mean?

Tharp is a surname of English origin that is derived from the Old English term "þorp" which means 'hamlet' or 'village'. It was traditionally used as a geographical surname given to people who resided in or near a village. Over time, the pronunciation and spelling of the term evolved into the modern form "Tharp". So, the last name Tharp essentially refers to someone who originated from a small settlement or rural community. Like many other surnames, Tharp can provide some historical insights or cultural relevance to those who bear it and also can indicate where their ancestors were geographically located. It is worth noting that the prevalence and distribution of the last name Tharp might be more concentrated in certain regions, specifically in countries like England and the United States.

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Tharp: Where does the name Tharp come from?

The last name Tharp is most commonly found today in the United States, where it is among the top 1,500 most popular surnames. Its highest concentration is in the Midwestern and Southern states, including Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

The origin of the surname Tharp is English, with records indicating that it was first found in the northern county of Yorkshire in the 12th century. The original bearer of the name was William Tharp, who was lord of the manor of Thornethorp. Many members of the Tharp family emigrated to America during colonial times and ultimately became prominent citizens, particularly in Southern communities.

Today there are numerous prominent people with the last name Tharp, ranging from the famous American choreographer Twyla Tharp to the celebrated country singer Trace Tharp. There are also many smaller businesses and institutions across the United States that bear the Tharp name. As such, the last name Tharp remains a common and important part of American culture today.

Variations of the surname Tharp

The surname Tharp can appear in various forms on different documents and records. Variants, spellings, and surnames of the same origin for Tharp include Tharpe, Tarp, Tharpp, Tharppe, Tharap, Tharopp, Tharaupe, Thaarpe, Thaarpp, Tharaup, Tarpe, Thorpe, Thorpe, Tharper, Thorp, Turp, and Turpin.

The surname Tharp is of Anglo-Saxon origin and indicates that the family was of Norman origins. They are derived from the Old Norse personal name Otharr, which in turn derived from the Old English pre-7th Century "Othaer", a compound of two elements, "Otho' meaning "wealthy" and 'haer" meaning "army".

The family originally settled in the areas of Lancashire and Yorkshire in England. In the 12th century, the Tharpes settled in Northamptonshire, and the spelling of the name changed to Tharp. In the 13th century, the Tharps were found in Worcestershire and Staffordshire, and the spelling changed to Tharp.

The variant spellings and surnames are likely the result of illiteracy amongst members of the Tharp families, as spelling rules were not strictly enforced in that era. The spelling changed depending on which part of the country a family was from. As most family members were illiterate, they were unable to compare their surname with that of another family, and thus the surname changed from region to region.

Today, Tharp is still a relatively common English surname, with an estimated 21,000 people bearing the name in the United States. It is also found in other countries such as England, Scotland, Wales, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia.

Famous people with the name Tharp

  • Twyla Tharp: Twyla Tharp is a world-renowned dancer and choreographer. She has won multiple Tony awards and her work has been featured on Broadway and film. Her dances often merge different styles of movement including ballet, modern, and jazz.
  • Mark Tharp: Mark Tharp is an Emmy award-winning television director. He is best known for his work on several shows including “Pee-wee’s Playhouse”, “The Wonder Years”, and “Malcolm in the Middle”.
  • Robert Tharp: Robert Tharp is an actor who has appeared in numerous television shows and films. His best known roles include appearances on “The L Word”, “Grey’s Anatomy”, and “Criminal Minds”.
  • John Tharp: John Tharp was a politician and pioneer in the Minnesota Territory. He served as the first Clerk of Minnesota's Supreme Court as well as served on the Board of Regents at the University of Minnesota.
  • Roger Tharp: Roger Tharp is a former American football quarterback best known for his college career at Brigham Young University. He later went on to work as an American football coach and analyst.
  • Michael Tharp: Michael Tharp is a retired four-star admiral and former commander of United States Naval Forces in Europe.
  • Hilton Tharp: Hilton Tharp was a prominent businessman from the 20th century. He served as President of the United Shoe Machinery Corporation as well as Chairman of Macy’s.
  • Rebecca Tharp: Rebecca Tharp is a two-time Emmy nominated Hollywood art director specializing in set design. She has worked on acclaimed television series such as “NYPD Blue”, “Ally McBeal”, and “Entourage”.

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