HARRISON Surname Meaning and Origin

What Does the Last Name Harrison Mean?

The Harrison surname derives from a given name meaning "ruler of the home."
The Harrison surname derives from a given name meaning "ruler of the home.". Getty / H. Armstrong Roberts / ClassicStock

Harrison is a patronymic surname meaning "son of Harry." The given name Harry is a derivation of Henry, itself a derivation of the Germanic name Heimirich, which means "home ruler," from the elements heim or "home" and ric, meaning "power, ruler."

Like many patronymic surnames, the surnames HARRISON and HARRIS are often found used interchangeably in early records - sometimes within the same family.

Harrison is the 38th most common surname in England and 123rd most common surname in the United States.

Surname Origin: English


Where in the World Is the HARRISON Surname Found?

According to WorldNames public profiler, the Harrison surname is found in greatest numbers (as a percentage of population) in the United Kingdom, especially in the northern England regions of East and West Midlands, Yorkshire and Humberside, North and Northwest. It is also a very popular surname in Australia and New Zealand, followed by the United States and Ireland.

Famous People With the Surname HARRISON

  • Benjamin Harrison - 23rd U.S. President
  • William Henry Harrison - 9th U.S. President
  • George Harrison - musician; member of The Beatles
  • Chris Harrison - television actor; the host of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette

Genealogy Resources for the Surname HARRISON

100 Most Common U.S. Surnames & Their Meanings
Smith, Johnson, Williams, Jones, Brown... Are you one of the millions of Americans sporting one of these top 100 common last names from the 2000 census?

The HARRISON Genealogy Repository
Find records, family trees and more for a number of different HARRISON families, most in the United States and England.

Bill Harrison's Genealogy Site
Explore Bill's extensive research on his Harrison family from Staffordshire, England.

The Harrison DNA Project
Over 100 Harrison participants have joined together to use DNA as a tool to help sort out Harrison families worldwide.

Harrison Family Genealogy Forum
Search this popular genealogy forum for the Harris surname to find others who might be researching your ancestors, or post your own Harris query. There is also a separate forum for the HARRIS surname.

FamilySearch - HARRISON Genealogy
Explore over 15 million historical records and lineage-linked family trees posted for the Harrison surname and its variations on this free genealogy website hosted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

HARRISON Surname & Family Mailing Lists
RootsWeb hosts several free mailing lists for researchers of the Harrison surname.

DistantCousin.com - HARRISON Genealogy & Family History
Free databases and genealogy links for the last name Harrison.

The Harrison Genealogy and Family Tree Page
Browse genealogy records and links to genealogical and historical records for individuals with the Harrison surname from the website of Genealogy Today.

References: Surname Meanings & Origins

  • Cottle, Basil. Penguin Dictionary of Surnames. Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books, 1967.
  • Menk, Lars. A Dictionary of German Jewish Surnames. Avotaynu, 2005.
  • Beider, Alexander. A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from Galicia. Avotaynu, 2004.
  • Hanks, Patrick and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford University Press, 1989.
  • Hanks, Patrick. Dictionary of American Family Names. Oxford University Press, 2003.
  • Smith, Elsdon C. American Surnames. Genealogical Publishing Company, 1997.


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Powell, Kimberly. "HARRISON Surname Meaning and Origin." ThoughtCo, Feb. 16, 2021, thoughtco.com/harrison-name-meaning-and-origin-1422524. Powell, Kimberly. (2021, February 16). HARRISON Surname Meaning and Origin. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/harrison-name-meaning-and-origin-1422524 Powell, Kimberly. "HARRISON Surname Meaning and Origin." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/harrison-name-meaning-and-origin-1422524 (accessed June 3, 2023).