Surname Name Meaning, Origin, and Etymology
The Anglo-Scandinavian, German, and Dutch last name Horn has ten different origin theories and meanings. First, it could mean “the son of Horn”, deriving from the personal (first) name Horn, a given name of great antiquity born by a celebrated hero of old English/French literature. Second, it might be a locational name meaning “of Horne”, a parish in county Kent, England. Third, it may be a locational name deriving from “at the Horn” a sign name. In theories two and three, the place name could derive from the shape of the piece of the land they were on, a piece of ground shaped like a horn or hook. (ex. Horne in Surrey and Horn in Rutland). Fourth, it could be an occupational name, deriving from the Middle English, Middle Dutch, and Middle High German word horn, meaning horn, referring to a person who made small articles (ex. spoons and combs) out of animal horn. Fifth, it could be an occupational name for someone who played a musical instrument made from the horn of an animal. In the Middle Ages or medieval times, workers were sometimes summoned by the flowing of a horn. Sixth, it may have derived from a physical feature from a person (such as a hooked nose?). Seventh, it may denote a a cuckolded husbanded. Eighth, it could be a Norwegian habitational name for a person who lived on farms so named (there are over 10), deriving from the Old Norse word horn, meaning horn or spur of land. Ninth, it could be a Swedish topographic. Tenth, it may be a Jewish name derived from a ram’s horn (shofar in Hebrew), which was blown at certain ceremonies in the synagogue, the Jewish house or worship. Tenth, it could be a locational name taken from various placed in the Netherlands or Holland named Hoorn, as the Dutch word hoorn means point or nook, and the prefix Van means “from”.
This page serves as a great resource for those interested in not only in heraldry, but also the Horn family genealogy and Horn ancestry.
Common spelling variants or names with similar etymologies include several English variants (Horne, Athorne, Athorn, Orne), Dutch/German variants (Hoorn, Van Horn, Van Hoorn, Van Horne, Van den Horn), and Norse/Norwegian variants (Hjorn or Orn). Another possible variant is Hurne.
Popularity & Geographic Distribution
The last name Horn ranks 593rd in popularity in terms in the United Status as of the 2000 Census. The name ranks particularly high in the following ten states: Kentucky, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Indiana, Kansas, Montana, and Oregon.
The name is popular throughout all of English and German parts of Europe, as well as Scandinavia: Germany (91st), Norway (285th), Denmark (510th), Austria (569th), Switzerland (945th), Sweden (1,145th), England (1,235th), Scotland (1,168th), Estonia (1,374th), Netherlands (2,128th), Finland (2,462nd), and Wales (2,662nd).
The name is also present outside of Europe is notable numbers: Canada (2,383rd), New Zealand (1,421st), Australia (1,592nd), and South Africa (329th).
The 1890 book Homes of Family Names by H.B. Guppy, states the following in regard to this surname: “The name of Horn or Horne, at present well represented around Wisbech, is also found in Kent. It was also represented in these two counties in the 13th century, as well as in London, Suffolk, Sussex, Oxfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Hunts, Northamptonshire, and Wilts”.
In the Netherlands, the spelling van Hoorn is the 748th most popular surname in the country.
Early Bearers of the Surname
Alwin Horne owned lands in counties Middlesex and Hertfordshire, England prior to 1086 AD. The Hundred Rolls of 1273 AD, a census of Wales and England, known in Latin as Rotuli Hundredorum lists four bearers of this surname: Adam Horn in county Wiltshire, Henry Horn in Northampton, Walter Horn in county Oxford, and Roger de Horne in county Kent. The Poll Tax of Yorkshire in 1379 AD lists one bearer of this last name: Johannes Horne. Kirby’s Quest lists two bearers of this name living around 1327 AD, both in county Somerset: William atte Horn and Thomas atte Horne. In the Netherlands, Herman van Hoorn (or Horne) (died in 1156 AD) and was Archdeacon at Liege and Bishop of Utrecht.
George Fraser Black’s 1946 book The Surnames of Scotland states the following in regard to this surname: “A well-known Old English personal name, probably of Norse origin. Aluuin Horme in DB. John Horn was beaten and evil-treated on the Border, 1279 . In 1328 there is entry of cockets of Lochmaben for Alan Home. John Horn apud Fervy, forestaller in Aberdeen, 1402. David Home is mentioned in a sasine relating to Cupar, 1456, and Agnes Horn is recorded in Glasgow, 1487. John Horne was admitted burgess of Aberdeen, 1497, and Alexander Horne contributed towards church repairs there in 1508. William Horn, attorney for Robert, archbishop of Glasgow, 1503, James Horne, bailie of Haddington, 1567, and Alexander Horne, canon of Ross, 1584. Horn of Westhall, an old family in Oyne, Hurne 1561”.
History, Genealogy, and Ancestry
The famous genealogist Bernard Burke’s book “Peerage and Knights” discusses one branch of this family. It begins with a mention of Sir Alan Edgar Horne, 2nd Baronet, M.C. of Shackleford in county Surrey, who was a Lieutenant Colonel in the Pioneer Corps who served in World War I as Captain of the Surrey Yeomanry and World War II. He was born in 1889 and succeeded his father in 1941. He first married Henriette Kelly and had a daughter with her named Edith Margery Jay (who married Major Thomas Fiddian Reddaway). He later married Roslyn, daughter of John Bryan Robinson, and had a son with her named Anthony Edgar (born 1925, member of Royal Air Force, served in World War II, married Valentin Dudensing). Burke traces the lineage back to Edgar Horne of Witley in county Surrey, who had several issue, the elder son being Sir William Edgar Horne, 1st Baronet, Justice of Peace in county London and Deputy Lieutenant in county Sutherland, as well as Westminiser City Countil Member, Mayor, and Alderman, among other positions. He was born in 1856 and was created a Baronet in 1929. In 1886, he married Margery, daughter of George Anderson May, of Elford, county Stafford, and had children with her: Alan (2nd Baronet discussed above), William Guy (Major in the 10th Hussars who served in both World Wars), and Pyhyllis Margery (born 1888). They bore the following Horne Coat of Arms (mistakenly called Horne Family Crest by those unfamiliar with heraldry): Gules, a fret vair between two boars, passant one in chief and one in base or. Crest: A dexter arm vested gules, cuffed or, holding in the hand proper, a hunting horn and charged on the sleeve with a fret gold. Clubs: Marlborough-Windham; Cavalry.
The branches of the Horn family tree and discussions of Horn genealogy would take of volumes and are too numerous to cover here. We can briefly discuss some Horn pedigrees.
A Horn whose first name is not recorded to history was born around 1150 AD and had two sons: Engelbert of Horn and Willem of Horn. His son Willem was born around 1170 and had two sons: Willem and Engelbert. The former was born around 1210 AD and he had two sons: Dick of Horn and Willem van Horne. The latter was born in Horn, Limburg, Netherlands around 1240. He married Agnes Marbais and had four issue with her: Willem, Dirk, Gerald I, and Isabelle. His son Gerald I “Heer van Horne” was born in Horn, Limburg in 1265 AD. He married Johanna van Leuven and later Ermgaris von Kleve and had the following issue with her: Margaretha, Willem IV and Diederik. His son Willem IV “Heer van Horne” was born in the same town around 1303 AD. He married Oda van Putten en Strijen and later Elisabeth von Kleve and had the following children: Agnes , Oda, Aleid, Elisabeth, Gerald II, Johanna, Willem V, Dirk Loef, and Elisabeth. His son Willem V was born around 1324. He married Mechtild van Arkel and had a son with her named Willem. This Willem Horne was born in 1358 and he married Johanna Heinsberg, with whom he had a son named Willem. This Willem Horne was born around 1380 and he married Johanna Montigny. They had a son named Jacob. Jacob of Horne was born around 1420.
Johann Krofft Horn was born in Elsoff, Westphalia, Germany in 1670. He married Christiana Elizabeth Hayn Bach and had four issue with her: Johann Matthias, Johannes Krofft, Anna Maria, and Christina. His son Johann Mattias (or Matthew) Horn was born in the same town in 1716. He had a son named Aaron. Aaron Horn was born in the same town in 1740. He came to colonial America. Prior to his 1778 death in Kentucky, he had the following issue: Sarah (Dumford), Polly (Proctor), Jerimiah, Matthias, Aaron, William, and Christopher. His son Matthias (Matthew) Horn was born around 1761 in Betterton, Maryland. He married Sussannah Hall and had the following children with her: John Sr., Keziah Jane (Meadows), Nancy (Barnett), Susannah (Meadows), Elijah, Aaron B., and Margaret. His son John Horn Sr. was born in Kentucky around 1705.
A one John Horn was born in East Nantmel, Chester in 1737. He married Mary Margaret and had a son named Samuel. Samuel was born in Chester, PA in 1765 and he married Hannah Wampole, with whom he had three issue: Elias, George W., and Elizabeth.
A one John Horn was born around 1775 and he married Ann Collins in Devon, England. They had four issue together: John, Anne Soper, Thomas, and Jane Downe. His son Thomas was born in Launcells, Cornwall around 1798 and he married Margaret Danning. They had the following children together: John Horn, Ann Horn, Phillipa Octavia (Gumpel), Thomas, Thomas Danning, Mary Jane (Pappin), William, and Emanuel.
Early American and New World Settlers
Joseph Horne, age 21, came to Virginia aboard the Transport of London in July 1635.
Richard Horne, age 22, came to Barbados aboard the Expedition in November 1635.
Henry Horn was recorded as living in Virginia (“over the River”) in February 1623, as was one Richard Hornn.
Gustav Adolphus Horn came to Barbados aboard the William & Anne in 1679.
A one Mary Horn, widow, was recorded as buried in the parish of St. Michaels, Barbados in 1678
The book Genealogical Guide to the Early Settlers, mentions three persons bearing this last name:
1) Armstrong Horn of Exeter, who took fidelity in 1667, but this may be a recording error
2) John Horn of Salem, 1630, who may have come in the fleet with Governor Winthrop, but perhaps earlier, was a freeman in 1631 and was a deacon. He died at age 82 in 1682. He had issue named Jonathan, Recompense, John, Simon, Joseph, Benjamin, Elizabeth Gardner, Jehoadan Harvey, Mary Smith, and Ann Felton. His wife may have been named Ann. His descendants may spell the name Orne.
3) William Horn of Dover, 1639, at Salibury, who married Elizabeth and had children named Elizabeth (1662), John (1663), William (1674), Thomas (1676), Margaret (1679), and perhaps Mary. He was killed by an Indian assault of Dover in 1689.
Early settlers in colonial America bearing this name include Christian Bartensten Van Horn (New York City 1653), Jan Cornelissen Van Horn (New Netherlands around 1645), Edward and Winifred Horn (Maryland 1664), Edward Horn (Maryland 1664), Kasper Horn (New York 1709), Gertraud Hoorn (New York 1710), Andreas Horn (Pennsylvania 1732), Ulrich Horn (Pennsylvania 1737), Joanis Horn (Pennsylvania 1741), Margretha Horn (Pennsylvania 1743), and Johan Philips Hoorn (Philadelphia 1770).
Early Americans Bearing the Horn Family Crest
I researched the following three resources and did not find any coats of arms for Horn: Bolton’s American Armory, Matthew’s American Armoury and Bluebook, and Crozier’s General Armory.
We have identified four Horn family mottoes:
1) Nil desperandum, meaning “Never despair” (of Durham)
2) *Monitus munitus, meaning “Foewarned, forearned” (of Westerhall)
3) Moneo et munio, meaning “” (of Aberdeen)
4) Hastings (of Bishopwearmouth)
6) Justice ac sincer, meaning “Justice and sincerity(?)” (of Posnanie)
7) Parta tueri, meaning “Defend what you have won” (of Berlin)
8) Electus a Deo beatus, meaning “Hapilly chosen by God(?)” (of Zélande)
*This motto refers to the notes of alarm given by the horn which forms the crest, as well as to the owner’s name.
We have 58 coats of arms for the YYYY surname depicted here. The first 8 blazons are from Bernard Burke’s book The General Armory of England, Ireland, and Scotland, which was published in 1848. The next 50 blazons (nos. 9-58) are from the Armorial General published in 1861 by the famous genealogist/heraldist Johannes Baptisa Rietstap, which tends to cover mainland Europe (Germany, Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, France, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Denmark, Sweden, Italy, Spain, etc.). The bottom of this page contains the blazons (in French and English), and in many instances contains some historical, geographical, and genealogical about where coat of arms was found and who bore it. People with this last name that bore a Horn Coat of Arms include:
1) Horne, first name not recorded, crest, Barker’s Grants
2) Robert Horne, Bishop of Winchester, arms only, 10 February 1560-1, by G. Dethick
There are hundreds of notable people with the Horn surname. This page will mention a handful. Famous people with this last name include: 1) Alfred Horn (1918-2001), born in Lower East Side, Manhattan, who was an American mathematician who was known for his work in lattice theory and universal algebra, 2) Carl von Horn (1903-1989) who was born in Vittkovle and was a Swedish Army general known for his service in various United Nations missions, including the Congo Crisis (1960s), 3) Carl Graf von Horn (1847-1923) who was a Bavarian Colonel Generaland War Minister born in Wurzburg, 4) Charles Edward Horn (1786-1849) who was an English composer and singer born in St. Marin-in-the-Fields, London whose works include Rich and Poor, The Devil’s Bridge, and the Blue Stocking, 5) Donald Glenn Horn (1945) who was a NFL quarterback in the 1960s and 70s born in South Gate California who played for five different NFL teams (ex. Green Bay Packers) and one WFL team (Portland Thunder), 6) Gyula Horn (1932-2013) who was the Prime Minster of Hungary in the 1990s, 7) Count Arvid Horn bf Ekebyholm (164-1742) who was a Swedish/Finnish soldier, politician, and diplomat, considered one of the leading figures of the Swedish Age of Liberty (a period of parliamentary governance with increasing civil rights), 8) Gustav Horn af Bjorneborg (1592-1657) who was a Swedish/Finnish soldier that became the Count of Pori, High Councillor, Field-Marshall and commander in Sweden’s troops in Germany during the Thirty Years’ War, and Governor General of Livonia, 9) Joan Kelly Horn (1936) who was born in St. Louis and became a representative in the U.S. House of Representatives for Missouri in 1991, 10) Charles Frederick Horn (1762-1830) who was a composer born in Nordhauden, Germany who moved to London, England where he became a music teacher in the Royal Household, and is widely credited for introducing the classical music of Johann Sebastian Bach to English speaking world, 11) Philip de Montmorency (died 1568) who was known are the Count of Horn (or Hoorn or Hoorne) who was a victim of the Spanish Inquisition in the Netherlands, 12) John Stephen Horn (1931-2011) who was President of California State University, Long Beach, and a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives for California’s 38th district, 13) Tori Egil Moxness Horn (1976) who was a Norwegian football (soccer) player who played the position of goalkeeper and spent his career on the team FK Bodø/Glimt, and 14) Sidney Welby Van Horn (1920-2014) who was a retired America professional tennis player born in West Palm Beach, Florida, who became a major tennis coach, as well as reaching the finals of the U.S. Nationals in 1939.
General Henry Sinclair Horne, 1st Baron Horne (1861-1929)
Count Gustav Horn af Björneborg (1592-1657),
Henrik Horn (1618-1693), Swedish Nobleman & Admiral
Ranzin, home owned by Van Horn family of Pomerania
Lussow, home owned by Van Horn family of Pomerania
Carl Graf von Horn