Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Harlow Name
The Anglo-Saxon Harlow surname is habitational as it lends its self to many locations around England from Yorkshire, to Essex, to Northumberland. The name comes from the medieval English compound word “haerhlaw”, Broken down the prefix “haer” translates to heap of rock or stone and the suffix “hlaw” translates to hill.
The variations in the spelling of the surname includes; Harlow; Harlowe; Harrlow; Harrlowe; Arlow; and Arlowe among others. The variations in spelling of surnames dating back to ancient times can be attributed to a lack of consistency regarding guidelines for spelling in use by the scribes who recorded such information, many of which were in the habit of spelling phonetically. The issue of multiple spellings of names in records was compounded by the diversity of languages in use in European countries at this time.
Until the mid to late sixteenth century, surnames were rarely if ever used. In the small settlements and villages which existed during earlier times in most of Europe, residents found little need for surnames as everyone in these communities knew each other and a given name would usually suffice. However, as communities grew and people began to migrate on a larger scale, along with the need of the government having a reliable way to track people for tax and census purposes, the aristocracy’s penchant for using surnames seemed the appropriate evolution to this problem. In most instances to distinguish themselves, one from another, those not of the noble class would often be identified by their given name plus their occupation while others may have been identified by their given name and one of their parent’s names.
There was a limitless supply from which surnames could be formed, in addition to the use of patriarchal or matriarchal names, or reference to the individuals occupation, there were things such as defining physical traits, a familiar geographical location or a topographical landmark found near the individual’s home or birthplace, the name of the village in which the person lived, and so much more. Over the course or time, surnames would come not just to represent an individual but whole families.
One of the earliest record of any variation of this surname is that of Osbern de Herlaye which appears in the Suffolk tax rolls from 1121. The tax rolls, were a series of census and tax records kept by the English Treasury by order of King John, with the oldest dating back over seven hundred years to the 12th century. These documents are considered the oldest concentric set of records detailing English governance in the United Kingdom spanning a period of over seven centuries.
With the discovery of America and the addition to the British Commonwealth of countries such as Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, it was not long before people began to immigrate to these outlying areas. The use of surnames made tracking of immigrants easier. One of the first recorded immigrants to America bearing the surname was Anthony Harlow who landed and settled in Virginia in 1623. Stephen Harlow landed and settling in Virginia in 1642. William Harlow was one of the first settlers to Canada arriving Quebec in 1784. John Harlow was one of the early settlers to Australia, landing and settling in Adelaide in 1849. George Harlow arrived in 1851 and settled in Adelaide, Australia.
Worldwide, the highest concentration of people with the surname Harlow are found in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland. By state, the largest percentile of those with the surname Harlow live in Maine, Kentucky, Virginia, Vermont, and Texas.
There are many notable people with the surname such as American born Chief Master Sergeant of the Air force Donald L. Harlow. Harlow was a veteran of World War II, was a distinguished graduate of Strategic Air Command Non-Commissioned Officer Academy, and he held the highest non-commissioned officer position in the U.S. Air Force.
American born Harry Harlow was a noted psychologist who was a pioneer in experiments regarding social isolation which showed the importance of companionship not only in social but cognitive development as well.
American born Jean Harlow was a film actress. Businessman, aviator, and filmmaker, Howard Hughes was credited with discovering her and giving her, her first major role in his picture Hell’s Angles.
Harlow Coat of Arms Meaning
The four main devices (symbols) in the Harlow blazon are the martlet, cinquefoil, lion and crescent. The three main tinctures (colors) are sable, azure and or .
Sable, the deep black so often found in Heraldry is believed to named from an animal of the marten family know in the middle ages as a Sabellinœ and noted for its very black fur . In engravings, when colors cannot be shown it is represented as closely spaced horizontal and vertical lines, and appropriately is thus the darkest form of hatching, as this method is known . Although it may seem a sombre tone, and does indeed sometimes denote grief, it is more commonly said to represent Constancy .
Azure is the heraldic colour blue, usually quite a deep, dark shade of the colour (there is a lighter blue that sometimes occurs, known as celestial azure). If colour printing is not available then it can be represented by closely spaced horizontal lines in a scheme known as “hatching” . The word is thought to originate from the Arabic lazura and it represents the colour of the eastern sky. It is also said to be the colour associated by the Catholic Church with the Virgin Mary and hence of particular significance .
The bright yellow colour frequently found in coats of arms is known to heralds as Or, or sometimes simply as Gold.. Along with, argent, or silver it forms the two “metals” of heraldry – one of the guidelines of heraldic design is that silver objects should not be placed upon gold fields and vice versa . The yellow colour is often associated with the Sun, and the zodiacal sign of Leo..
The martlett is by far the most common bird to appear in British Heraldry, perhaps only equalled by the eagle, however it is not a species ever to be found in an ornithologists handbook! The word itself is though to have come from the French word merlette, the female blackbird and itself a similar type of charge used in French Heraldry. . Over time the image has become quite stylised, without visible legs or distinctive feathers. Wade suggests that this representation arises from “the appearance of the bird of paradise to ancient travellers” . Other bird species may be named in coats of arms (cornish chough is a frequent example) but in actual execution their appearance is often indistinguishable from the martlet.
Natural objects abound in heraldry, and one category that gives especial delight are the many flowers and flowering plants that frequently occur . The cinquefoil is also of this type, being drawn, at least a little, realistically and often to very pleasing effect. It is shown as five-petalled flower, each petal quite rounded but with a distinct tip. It is sometimes pierced with a hole in the centre and usually appears on its own, without any leaves. It has no fixed colour but can appear in any of the available heraldic tinctures.
The art of heraldry would be significantly poorer if we were without the lion in all its forms. Most general works on Heraldry devote at least one chapter solely to this magnificent creature and its multifarious depictions . Some of the earliest known examples of heraldry, dating right back to the knighting of Geoffrey of Anjou in 1127, where he is shown with six such beasts upon his shield .The great authority on heraldic symbology, Wade, points out the high place that the lion holds in heraldry, “as the emblem of deathless courage” , a sentiment echoed equally today.