This interesting surname of German origin is either a nickname for a stern or severe person, deriving from the Middle Low German "harsten" to grow "hard", "firm", or an occupational name for a soldier from the Middle High German "harsch", "harst" meaning "body of troops". The surname dates back to the early 14th Century, (see below). Variations in the idiom of the spelling include Harce, Hars, Harrs, Harses, etc.. William Harrs married Ellin Layton on October 10th 1621, at St. Margaret, Westminster. Jerimiah Harses married Mary Sheppard on January 26th 1650, at St. Katherine by the Tower, London, and Mary Harse married Charles James Brown on September 27th 1808, at St. Clement Danes, Westminster. Emily, daughter of Edwin and Eliza Harse, was christened at St. Pancras, Old Church, London, on April 17th 1853, One Michael Hars, a famine emigrant, sailed from Liverpool aboard the "Waterloo" bound for New York on September 26th 1846. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Cristina de Harsy, which was dated 1328, in the Kirby's Quest, during the reign of King Edward 111, known as "The Father of the Navy", 1327 - 1377. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was 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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