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About the study

Hallo and welcome,
to my Hargest /Hergest One-Name study page.Like many one-name studies,my Hargest /Hergest One-Name study grew out of the efforts of tracing my own ancestry.My own branch of the Hargest family, stem from the beautiful Herefordshire, village of Norton Canon.They having settled around its locality sometime between the 1600 to 1700's.See here for details about its historical Parish Church, were many of my ancestral Hargest's had been Baptised, Married and Buried within its grounds.The Parish of Norton Canon had until relatively recently, a continual Hargest presence for 319 years,since at least the time of the 1664 Heath Tax.The last remaining Hargest family member to have lived and died there was My 3rd Cousin Arthur James Hargest (1905-1983).(Whom unfortunatly, I never had the opportunity to meet).If anyone has any information or pictures of him or his family please contact me at the address at the bottom of this page.

Having heard many tall tales, from my maternal grand mother since I was a child.That my ancestors where Viking warriors etc.I finally decided in early 2004 ,to find out the truth, as to if any of these stories where in fact based on facts and rather than wishful thinking as my grandmother was all too often prone to exaggerate.Whether its possible to go back that far,is unlikely as English and Welsh written records , unfortunately do not often go back as far as our continental neighbour cousins.Only time and many years of research will tell me,how far I will be able to go.

Until I started my research the only information I had to go on was from an old family bible,which seemed to have a number of gaps and deficiencies.After having made a few initial mistakes in purchasing seemingly unrelated Hargest certificates from the incomplete information posted on the usual major family history web sites such as Freebmd, Ancestry.Com and the Mormons Family Search Site also know as the IGI. Which unfortunately is littered with numerous inaccuracies due to the vast majority of its records coming from Bishops transcripts, and the inaccurate donated posted ancestral files that have not been properly researched by many of its submitters.

I came to the conclusion,that most currently available information on the web was either completely useless to me or often wrongly transcribed.So I decided to try to be as accurate as far as possible, by using the facilities that were literally nearly on my door step, the Family Record Office (also known as the General Record Office usually referred to by the abbreviation G.R.O.).By doing it the old fashioned way,transcribing every single entry for all the registered Hargest/Hergest/ Births,Marriages and Deaths held there for England and Wales between the years 1837 to 2005.I have also transcribed all the entries in the Scottish General Record Office since when the first Hargest families settled there in the 1940's.

This part of the project although fascinating reading,was an extremely time consuming chore,taking many months to complete, lifting hundreds of heavy musty smelling volumes and double checking every single transcribed entry.

These records I have then tried to compare with any known Parish records,to avoid confusion and duplication, as many Hergest families in Parish records often turn out to be Hargest in the G.RO. records or vice versa.But by purchasing a large number of key certificates and Wills of probate along with using various Census forms both from here in the United Kingdom (starting with the 1841,1851,1861,1871,1881,1891,1901 until the final one,the 1911 census which should be completely transcibed and available during 2009 and other Census forms from the United States and Canada.And by researching known parish records in Australia and New Zealand.It has generally been possible to to sort out who belongs,to whom and in which family tree,by going backwards and forwards in time.

As an added part of this research being a bit of a Genealogical Junkie, I have tried where ever possible to trace the blood line families of any female Hargest-Hergest who married during that period of time and to note her descendants often to many years after her respective death.So I am often aware of which surnames today are also related to a Hargest-Hergest even if their current decendant families are unaware of any connection, through lack of their own research.

With my current project of transcribing Parish records in England and Wales its been possible to go even further back in time.Currenty I am creating a database of all known Hargest/ Hergest Baptisms,Marriages and Burials some dating back as far as 1579.With these records I have been able to reconstruct a number of family trees,some of which are now extinct, but others are still going strong to the present day.I have also had contact with a few fellow Hargest / Hergest ancestry researchers worldwide.Some of whom I've managed to connect to my own direct tree.As my research continues hopefully in the future, I'll be able to add and connect more branches and my intial aim of creating a greater Hargest/Hergest tree may yet well happen.

From my accumulated research data, which I have been gathering for the last few years.Which has been come from all manner of sources (see further down the page below), I am now thinking of compiling it all together with the aim of writing a book on my historical research into the Hargest-Hergest's families between the years 1400-1940 as many other One Name Study Guild members have also done.If anyone related to a Hargest-Hergest during this time frame would wish to contribute information to this future project,Pictures of early Hargest-Hergests would be especially welcome,you will of course by quoted in this book as a source.

Sadly the former Family Record Office has now been closed down,with the needless loss of many peoples jobs and its once excellent service for Genealogists has now been reduced to a complete nightmare of using antiquated microfiche machines at Kew.Family records have been transferred to the National Archives at Kew, but unfortunately not the Books (because of the stupidity of bureaucracy of government departments arguing with each other as to whom owns what ).Although the books were heavy, they were much faster and easier to use than microfiche.Kew is currently ill prepared to deal with the added extra hordes of interested family historians.And is now trying to rebuild itself quickly to accommodate them.Due to this lack of foresight by the current 'New Labour' government of the United Kingdom, who had also promised the Dove digisation project of all Birth,Marriage and Death records to be available online.Which if, had it been completed in time would have made all this extra building work unnecessary.But as with all Government I.T. projects it is currently still years behind schedule.

Variant names

While there are a number of variations to the Hargest name such as Hergest,Hargist,Hargast,Harguest Hargust etc etc.I have decided not to register all the variations as I feel the money can be better spent on researching then, registering each variation with the Guild of One-Name Studies.

Most of the variations probably came about due to pronunciation in local dialects and to the fact that the vast majority of the early Hargest / Hergest's were illiterate along with the rest of the United Kingdoms population,up until the late 1870's when educational reforms made schooling compulsory.From then on many Hergests changed their names to Hargest in the last century.With the exception of two branches who still bear the name today.

Name origin

The earliest reference I have found to date is from the 19 October 1361 of a Roger Hergest mentioned as a beneficiery in the Will of Humphrey de Bohun sixth ( son of the fourth and brother of the fifth ) Earl of Hereford of that name.Humphrey de Bohun was born about 1308; and died,unmarried ,in the Bohun Castle of Plessy,Essex on the 15 October 1361.Whose Will was probated on the 19 October 1361.source the Bohun Wills

While it may prove impossible to connect him via a paper or parchment trail to any of the family trees that I have been researching,I believe that he is probably related somehow to me and any other Hergest or Hargest descendant living today.

My intial research into the Hargest / Hergest surname centred around of the County of Herefordshire in England and the Welsh County of Powys.As there are two Hamlets (settlements) by the names of Upper and Lower Hergest near the town of Kington, which are mentioned in the Doomsday Book of 1086.One of the earliest surveys of England, compiled on the orders of the Norman King William the Conquerer.Whether the area was named after the Hargest/Hergest family or the family after the area only the mysteries of time can tell.However in the Book of the History of Kington,it is mentioned during the year 1521 a Richard Hergest held Over-Hergest by part of a Knight's fee,while James Baskerville held over Eardisley and Bollingham by part of a Knight's fee.

Both Hergests lie near a ridge of hills that runs between the Counties of Herefordshire and Powys called Hergest Ridge (made famous by the musician Mike Oldfield) see here for details,255000&st=4&ar=Y&mapp=newmap.srf&searchp=newsearch.srf or search via Google maps for a satellite map image of the area.

Also there are other places of local interest such as Hergest court owned until recently by the Vaughan family.A family to whom several early Hargest/Hergest marriages had taken place with.

Hergest Court also used to be in possession of the famous Red Book of Hergest which is now held at the Bodlian Library at Oxford.Some of the tales written in the manuscripts of the Red Book of Hergest were translated by Lady Charlotte Guest (19 May 1812 – 15 January 1895) the wife of the Welsh industrialist John Josiah Guest (2 February 1785 -26 November 1852) owner of the Dowlais Iron Company.These fascinating tales are some of the earliest Welsh literature and the 1877 edition of The Mabinogion can be read here

Historical occurrences of the name

According to the Calender of Patent Rolls of King Henry IV on the 17 December 1406 at Westminster a Grant ,with the assent of the lords spiritual and temporal and the commons in the present Parliament, was granted to the king's servant Hugh Hergest,in consideration of his labour on the castigation of the Welsh rebels during their rebellion, through which he sustained great losses and expenses, of the lands and rents within the towns and fields of Meare and Blanlevenny in the lordship of Dynas in Wales in the king's hands by reason of the minority of Roger son and heir of the earl of March.This grant, is I believe the right to bare arms.Which were passed down father to son until around the early part of the 1500's when the last male Hergest who appears to have had the right to bare them died without male issue.This was apparently a Richard Hergest of Chanstone/Shenston of Vowchurch,his sole heir was a daughter Elizabethe who married John Baskerville of Eardisley who died on 1577.Source The Visitation of Hereford by Robert Cooke, Clarencieux, in 1569.

However the Hergest/Hargest families where still considered gentry in the Herefordshire area up until the late 1600's as they are often mentioned hob nobbing with other well known familes such as the Scudmores,Bodenhams,Vaughans etc who owned vast tracks of Herefordshire and the Welsh marches.

There are a number of Hargest's /Hergest's who have become famous for one thing or another including:

William Hergest who in 1580 wrote a Book for his friends and family called 'The right rule of Christian chastitie' fore warning them about sex before marrage etc.Published in London by W. How for Richard Iohnes a Bookseller to be sold at his shop which was against St. Sepulchers Church without Newgate.Obviously by the large amount of single parent Hergest/Hargest families,that I have discovered while tracing the History of the Hergest/Hargest families it was and never has been widely read by many of his descendants.However it can still be read at the British Library.

Richard Hergest born on the 27 March 1754 in Wapping,London and who died on the 12 May 1791 in Hawaii.Was the son of Jeremiah Hergest (1724-1789) and his wife Margaret (nee) Smith, a Draper of Kington,Herefordshire and Whitechapel London.Richard Hergest sailed aboard the HMS Resolution as a midshipman with Captain Cook on his third voyage of 1776-1780.Richard Hergest was later to become a Lieutenant aboard the Daedalus storeship.Which was due to meet George Vancouver's expedition at Nootka Sound.But he was killed on the 12 May 1791,while going ashore in the Sandwich Islands modern day Hawaii by the local inhabitants.In his memory George Vancouver later named the Northern Marquesas Islands the Hergest Islands though the name never stuck.

Frederick Hargest Born 23 May 1845 in London, to Thomas and Maria (formerly Clark) Hargest.Frederick Hargest was a Victorian Drag Queen who was probably the most famous Hargest during the mid 19th century in Britain.He appeared in more 19th Century Newspapers than any other Hargest at the time, but is little known now, as he only appeared in 2 census records,the 1851 and the 1881 census.He toured the length and breadth of Britain and Ireland doing female impressions in various music halls.Working in these alcoholic swilling palaces, of public entertainment finallly took its toll in 22 January 1886 when he died of Cirrosis of the Liver at Colchester.One month after his last performance at the Sir Colin Campbell Music Hall,Colchester,Essex.His untimely death caused a bit of a problem to his father Thomas Hargest,to try and dispose of all his son's specially made female clothes,eventually placing a discreet advert in the Era Newspaper in February 1886 to get rid of them.

Thomas Hargest (1806-1894) his father,had also led an interesting life working in service to various Peers,first to George Charles Pratt (1799-1866)2nd Marquess Camden then as a private Butler at Cassiobury Park to Arthur Algernon Capel the 6th Earl of Essex.Arthur Algernon Capel his employer,was famous for partying on a grand scale and squandering money,eventually having to sell off his families property including their ancestral home.Cassiobury Park, Hertfordshire.Cassiobury had been home to Earls of Essex's since 1545. Which sadly brought about its eventual demolition in 1927.

William Milton Hargest (5/08/1868-16/2/1948) the U.S Republican. Lawyer; common pleas court judge of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

William Hargest (19/7/1879-6/9/1946),the son of John (1848-1922) and Joan (1848-1931)(formerly Powell) Hargest,and the husband of Emily Ann (formerly Blenman) Hargest (1878-1970), who emigrated from Wales,via Liverpool on the 15 September 1903 arriving in New York on the 25 September 1903,aboard the SS Carpathia (the Carpathia a few years later in 1912 ,helped to rescue the survivors of the Titanic),he went onto work in the Pennsylvanian coal fields around Pittsburgh.He was a leading figure in the trade union movement in America,working as secretary for the United Mine Workers of America for over 30 years.

William James Hargest (26/08/1902-10/11/1953 the Son of William and Emily Ann (formerly Blenman )Hargest, (of the United Mine Workers of America above).Was a War Correspondent for the McGraw-Hill Publishing Company.Reporting on Britains War production methods for a number of American technical publications during the second world war.Travelling back and forth across the Atlantic many times on many of the Great Liners of the day. After the war, in 1948 he returned to London to marry Daisy Winifred (formerly Bryant).Returning later to America with his bride in the 1950's.

James Hargest (1891 - 12/08/1944),the son of James (1852-1929) and Mary (formerly Prosser ) (1855-1935) Hargest.James Hargest's parents where the founding dynasty of nearly all the present day New Zealand Hargest's having settled there in 1878.James their son became the famous New Zealander Brigadier Farmer, military leader, politician who was awarded the CBE, DSO and Bar, MC, ED Chevalier de la Legion D'Honneur, Greek Military Cross, 1st Class

George E. Hargest (26/08/1906 -5/02/ 1983) the husband of Katherine Lois (formerly Bratt) (1916-1987), was a renowned specialist on U.S. foreign mails. His book, The History of Letter Post Communications Between the United States and Europe, 1845-1875 was published by the Smithsonian Institution in 1971.He received the Crawford Medal for this work in 1972.

Kathleen Josephine Hargest (1905-1992) (formerly Bowler) my grandmother,who despite not having a single Christian ( in the true meaning of the word) bone in her overly pious body was awarded the Vatican Papal medal the 'Benemerenlie'by Pope Paul X1 for her work in promoting catholic teachings.

George Hargest (1878-23/9/1943) who was born in Titley Herefordshire,England and who died in Brecon,Breconshire (Powys),Wales.He was the fourth son of seven boys, born to John Hargest (1842-1909)and his wife Emma (formerly Hambleton) (1852-1895),a Herefordshire cattle Farmer.Farming had little interest for George Hargest as a boy,and having little prospect of inheriting the family business,he trained to become a Billiard maker and 11 years after his marriage in 1904 to Margaret Lillian (formerly Griffiths) (1885-1979).His skills in Billiards which he aquired while making them,paid off when in 1915 while managing the Luciana Billiard Hall in Blackwood,Monmouthshire.He Was certified by the Billiards Association in making the first century in Billiards, when he made a total clearance of 112.George Hargest's later life had its share of ups and downs.Becoming the owner of the historic 300 year old George Hotel in Brecon where he experienced bankruptcy in 1933.In later life he become a Licensed Victualler ending his days running the Blue Boar Pub in Watton,Brecon.George Hargest was my 2nd Cousin 3 times removed.

Muriel Hargest Born (13/5/1919 -11/2/2009 the Daughter of Eva Emily (maiden name Whittacker) Hargest ,who followed in her mothers footsteps of marrying twice,after her first marriage to Gerald Falk Wolfson the Journalist,ended by his premature death in 1945 the same year of their marriage she remarried again in 1948,to Harry Harris (born 30 September 1919-Died 17 July 1994) the renowned Lecturer, Biochemist and Geneticist.Professor of Biochemistry, at London University during the 1960 and 70's before moving on to become Professor of Human Genetics,at the University of Pennsylvania 1976-90.Muriel and Harry's son is the current Labour (Life Peer) Baron Toby Harris of Haringey.Who is my 4th cousin once removed.

Name frequency

According to a database linked to the Office of National Statistics there where 208 living Hargest's in the United Kingdom in 2002

Hargest is the 84,042nd most popular last name (surname) in the United States; frequency is 0.000%; percentile is 90.029 Source CBN.

Distribution of the name

In the 1891 census the most populous counties with Hargest present where Breconshire(Powys),Herefordshire and Glamorgan,followed by other counties.

Today there are more Hargest descendant families all over the world,than there are in England,Wales or Scotland.Due to succesive generations of Hargest's/Hergest's voluntary emigrating or being transported (for various crimes) to other parts of the globe.There are now a number of Countries with sizeable Hargest populations including America,Canada,New Zealand,Australia.

While the vast majority of Hargest/Hargest families are caucasian.There are also a number of African American families who carry the Hargest name.From my research into their respective genealogy, it appears they stem from the first Hargest settlers circa 1730's into America.Some of whom where to become slave owners.As records for that period of American colonisation are scant, it is difficult to pinpoint currently, as to who, they where.But hopefully I may find out eventually.


I have fully transcribed to paper all the registered Hargest,Hergest, (including a few variations) Births,Marriage and Death entries from 1837 to 2006 held at the Family Record Office also known as the General Register Offices for England & Wales

So as to be completely accurate in my research,as of the 20 February 2008. I have purchased at my own expense every registered Male and Female Hargest / Hergest (including a few variations) marriage certificate,between the years 1837-1920 with the exception of 6 copies that had been donated.With this and other data I have, I now,know how and who all current United Kingdom Hargest/Hergest are related, baring about 20 from single mothers.I also now know how nearly all of the genealogical lines of emigrant Hargest-Hergest families in America,Canada,Australia and New Zealand came about and who they descend from.

I also have copies of every known Hargest & Hergest Will and Admon since the year 1544 to 1858,although transcribing some of the late 1500's and 1600's ones, are proving to be quiet difficult to transcribe.I have recorded all grants of probate since 1858 in England and Wales to the present day.I am also actively trying to find and acquire other early colonial Hargest & Hergest's Wills and Admons from other parts of the world.

I am also currently in the process of transcribing various related Parish records and documenting all known Monumental Inscriptions ( Gravestones ) through out England and Wales,via my membership of the United Kingdom's Society of Genealogists see here for details and when ever possible by visiting the actual locations to get a better understanding of the local enviroment and its history in the context of their lives.

With the help of various Archives from both here and abroad from Court documents,Deeds,Apprenticeships,war Records,Newspapers,Old directories etc etc, I have also been compiling a database of historical and social related information between the years 1400 to 1940.Which has helped me to pad out some of the early Hargest-Hergest family histories and put more flesh to the bones so to speak, then just relying on births,baptisms,Marriages death and burials records alone.

While I am happy to help other people researching their Hargest/Hergest origins,please be mindful of the fact that most of my research has cost me a great deal of money.So please 'Do not expect me to tell you everything I know, about your particular branch or tree without offering something in return.I may suggest, to you, to purchase a record of a relative such as a Birth (Marriages certificates only after 1920,as I already have copies of every marriage between 1837 to 1920) unless they come from outside of the UK) or Death certificate of a person that you may not be aware of, that I know or believe to be connected to your family tree.If after purchasing this document you are willing to share the information contained within it then,I will be happy to share more information with you.Or if you would like to donate money towards the cost of purchasing further certificates, which are currently Seven Pounds Sterling each here in the United Kingdom,and much more in other countries.Please click on the Donate button on my Hargest.Name domain website.This is just to help to with expenses I am not looking to make a profit,though it would be nice but unlikey (Lol).There by helping to filling in the gaps to our mutual advantage.


At the moment I have not yet started a DNA project for my One Name Study,though this is a future ambition.In the meantime from the numerous death certificates that I have purchased, I have been able to build up a size able database of common causes of Death of various Hargest's & Hergests often these came about due enviromental factors such as employment and living conditions.But also from other causes such as suicide,murder and acciddental death.