This is a baffling and rare surname. It would seem to be English, but if so the only recordings which would seem to shed any light on its origins are to be found in the surviving church registers of the city of London at the very begining of the reign of Queen Victoria. The name would seem to be occupational and to describe a 'wright' or engineer, one of worked with his hands, except that there is no trade or occupation nor have we been able to find a spelling as Handwright. In Germany there was the listed trade and surname of Handwerker, which was apparently related to the textile industry and was connected with 'finishing' the cloth. All 'wrighting' in the past has done by hand, be it millwrighting or wheelwriting, which leads us to believe that the name may originally have been a fusing of the personal name Han or Hans, popular in England until the 18th century, with the surname Wright. This has been a popular practice at various times in history. An example of the recordings is that of Daniel Hanwright who married Agnes Renton at St Leonards Shoreditch, in the city of London, on February 19th 1837.
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