Recorded in many spelling forms including Arbor, Harbour, Harbor, Harberer, Harbisher, and Harbar, this is an English, and sometimes Scottish, surname. Derived from the pre 7th century Olde English compound word 'herebeorg,' the surname is or rather was, occupational for a lodging house or inn-keeper, one who provided a 'safe harbour'. The derivation is from the original words 'heve', meaning army, and 'beorg', a shelter. In the late Middle Ages the term began to be used in the modern sense of a safe anchorage for ships.Early examples of the surname recordings taken from surviving church registers of the diocese of Greater London include examples such as Jane Harbor, who was christened at St. Giles, Cripplegate; on November 4th 1604, and Elizabeth, the daughter of Henry and Ann Harbor, who was christened on November 18th 1625 at the church of St. Mary Somerset. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of Geoffrey Herbour. This was dated 1279, in the Hundred Rolls of the county of Berkshire, during the reign of King Edward 1st of England, 1272 - 1307. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as 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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