This ancient surname, which is one of the earliest on record, is of English and Irish origin. It is also well recorded in Scotland, although the origin is as for England. The name has two possible sources, the first being from the Breton personal name "Aeruiu" or "Haerviu", composed of the elements "haer", meaning battle, and "vy", - worthy. The 1086 Domesday has various references to followers of William the Conqueror, including Herueu de Berruarius of Suffolk, and later Heuei de Castre of Lincoln, in 1157. These were not surnames, although in fact the first surname recording as shown below was only just behind. The second source is Irish, although in fact most nameholders in Ireland do descend from English settlers, it is said that a Galway clan called originally the O'hAirmheadhaigh, did 'anglicise' their name to Harvey or Harvie. The Gaelic translates as 'the descendant of the son of Airmed', the latter being a personal name which may mean 'a grain of corn'. The surname is generally recorded as Harvey, Harvie, Hervie and Hervey, and early recordings include William Hervy of Essex in 1232, Warin Harvi in the Pipe Rolls of Cambridge for the year 1273, and John Hervy, burgess of Aberdeen in 1398. The roll of famous namebearers includes William Harvey (1578 - 1657), who discovered the circulation of the blood in 1616, whilst Edmond Harvey, a Parlimentarian Colonel, was one of the fifty three regicides who signed the death warrant of Charles 1st in January 1649. Beauchamp Bagenal Harvey was one of the 1798 leaders of the Irish rebellion, whilst curiously Robert Hervie of Scotland was a member of the Huntly Volunteer force, raised to combat a possible French-Irish invasion. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Hervi, which was dated 1190, in the 'Calendar of Abbot Samson of Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk', during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "The Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. 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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