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2,405 study surnames with us
and a further 6,120 variant names.

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About the study

A study of Hore, Hoar, Hoare and its variants and derivations.  Our project is a merger of a more traditional 20+ year one-name study that covered North America (see project admin Roz Edson's Rootsweb database) and more recent work at using DNA to help clarify and enhance traditional genealogical work in the family lines. As a result of the DNA efforts, one-name study work is expanding back into the UK (especially from before the emigration of two key families from Southwest England to pre-colonial North America in the early 1600's).

Variant names

Hore is the oldest recorded and known use of the surname. Hoare and Hoar occur extensively in UK, Ireland and Oceania. It is believed most may have derived from the base Hore but this project is all about determining that. See our own websites project page description for further variations and derivations (such as Oar, Orr and Ore, for example). Hoar, Horr, Hord, Hoard and Harr are known, common derivations in North America.  Beside the early derivation of Hoard seen in the 1700's English Colonies, more creative ones occurred like Howard and Hobart as well.  It is because of these derivations that morphed the name into ones already in use that this project, and its DNA aspects, are so important to discovering the links through time for many in this family.

Name origin

The surname seems to originate in Southwest England; mostly Devon. There are some references earlier in Western Ireland and Wales. The earliest known reference is to a William le Hore mentioned in the Doomsday book; as being a Norman Invader who was a flag-bearer for Strongbow to retake Ireland. The seal shown in the image above was found in Ireland and believed to cooberate that story. The Pole Hore's of Ireland are reported to be descendants of this same William. The Risford Manor Hore family of 1330 to 1630 are reported as descended from these Pole Hore's as well. Risford Manor being just outside Chagford in Devon. We are using DNA testing to further correlate with historical records and see how these families may have evolved. Key is to track and identify all the historical documents and create contradictions or correlations using modern descendant DNA testing.

There are two oft repeated stories as to the source or origin of the name. We are working to find and document the earliest sources of these stories as they have been simply reprinted often in the last 200 years. One story is the name was originally William de la Hore. And it was likely taken from his birth town of (present day) Aurey, Brittany, France. The second story is related to the old English word for a specific greyish-white.  From whence the English word Hour is said to have been derived as well. Granite stones, mined from Devon quarries, were used as the roadside edge and eventually mile markers. Hence calling the markers on the sundial by the same name as the mile markers on the edge of the road.  The stones would get a white crusted top (Lichen? some other process of aging?).  So they were known as Hore Stones.  Hence the eventual names for things like Hoar Frost and Hoar Fog as well. The story is the name was given as a surname to family members who turned prematurely all-white but full bodied hair; hence looking white-topped like the stones. The current founder of the project and all his family members definitely still exhibit this characteristic today -- turning all white (not grey) by 40. It is not known if there is a yDNA gene that would carry this or then why the woman also exhibit this condition in the current families. Even for woman 3 or 4 generations, all maternally, away from the male surname line. Maybe on the portion of the X and Y chromosome that participates in cross-overs during Meiosis? This is likely a more common trait among many in the population than just the family line (today).  Check our project web page as the story evolves.

Historical occurrences of the name

A sampling of the surname use within the family lines we are already studying:

  • Sir William le Hore of Pembroke, Wales mentioned in Doomsday book, 1170, as accompanying Strongbow to retake Ireland for the deposed king there. Received lands in Wexford in gratitude.
  • Richard Hore, supposed non-heir son of the Pole Hore line in Ireland, marries Cxxxx of Risford, only daughter, and inherits the Risford Manor near Chagford in Devon, England. Stays in family first-male line until 1630 when William Hore sells it off.
  • Henry Hoare whose descendants founded the Hoare's Bank and were Lord Mayor's of London.
  • In North America, Ebinezer Rockwood Hoar, George Frisbee Hoar, Samuel Hoar and Leonard Hoar -- all descendants of Charles Hoare of Gloucester whose family emigrated in the mid 1600's to Massachusetts. Leonard was an early president of Harvard University, George Hoar a well regarded Senator during the post-civil war era. Charles' widowed wife, Joanna, remarried in the USA and had more children.  These children became the ancestors to John Adams, the second president of the USA, and his son John Quincy Adams, the sixth president of the USA.

and many more.

Name frequency

For distribution and Frequency of the name in more modern times, see our project page on occurrences of the name for the latest information we have been able to collect. Needless to say, it appears mostly in the English speaking world with people of British Isles origins.


The project has been working more to be a master index of published information rather than collecting and creating indices of records ourselves.

  1. Our Patriarchs Line page on the main project website serves to be an annotated bibliography of source material for various families already identified and tracked. We are even working to get reprinted some of the earlier, difficult to find, and important historical documents mentioned here.  Although meant to be collaborative in development, its current content grew out of research work mostly by Randy Harr.
  2. Roz Edson's Hoar and Horr Families in North America database attempts to create family lines from records in North America; from 1600 to near present day. Sources are minimally described as viewable to the public but often have more details in her internal source database.
  3. One of our co-admins, Malcolm Hoare, has done extensive study of the surname in the Gloucester area. Some of which is published on his website. Reach out to him for further details.
  4. Roz was just beginning an expansion of her surname study into the Southwest England Marriages and Baptisms in the 1600's when we lost her due to illness.


See our main project website and the FamilyTreeDNA project website covering the testing portion and  how we are classifying and grouping the various family lines. There has been much early success incorporating DNA testing with the traditional genealogical process.


Our main Surname Study project page: The H600 Project: A Surname Study.
Our yDNA STR project home page: FTDNA