Recorded as Harbert, Herbert, and the patronymics as shown below, this is regarded as an English surname. It derives from the male given name Haribeort, of the pre 7th century. This is composed of the elements "heri or hari", meaning an army, and "berht", bright or famous. The Norman-French spelt it as Herbert or Latinised as Herbertus, and after 1066 this spelling became confused and diffused with the corresponding Anglo-Saxon Haribeorht. It is said to be recorded as Harbertus, Herbertus and Hereberd in the famous Domesday Book of 1086. Perhaps the earliest recording of the surname is that of William Haerebert, in the Pipe Rolls of the county of Dorset in the year 1202. The patronymics Herbertson, Herbeson, Harbertson and Harbison are particularly well recorded in Scotland, and also in the Province of Ulster, Ireland, from the early 16th Century. Examples of the recordings include: Matthew Harbyson of Shanroe, County Monaghan, in 1516; Archibald Herbertson, burgess of Glasgow in 1525; and William Harbison, born at Rough, County Monaghan, in 1545. The form Harbinson results from an intrusive "n" added to Harbison to aid pronunciation. This is shown in the recording of William Harbinson and Rebecca Lightburn who were married at Downpatrick, County Down, in 1764. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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