Find in

Hoar Surname

Hoar / Hoare Surname and DNA Project

including variants Hoard, Hor, Hore, Horr, and Hord
and recent North America variants Harr, Hobart, Howard and Shorr,
and (older) English variants Hora, Hoor, Hoore, Horre, le Hore
along with missing 'H' variants of Oar, Orr, and Ore

The public support / content of this page has been recreated at The H600 Project (external link) starting in 2016. This after being first moved to WorldFamilies (external link) in the last half of 2015. Please see The H600 Project (external link) for updates and information. The below is deprecated and likely to disappear. This was the first branch study and, after experience with this effort, lessons learned being imported back to this site for other branches.

Due to the large page, click on a the '[+]' or '[-]' symbol to expand or collapse a major section. Subsection links in the outline to the right work only after an enclosing major section is expanded in this way.

Dedicated to those hitting a dead-end in their genealogical research by helping them learn about some common surname lines, surname name changes, as well as utilizing Y-DNA-STR testing to get a strong hint as to the family lineage (on the male, surname line).

Due to historic reasons, there has been a focus on New England / North American lines that are 300+ years old. But as more participation comes, many more recent immigrant lines are being identified. The common origin of the surname is mostly Southwest England with some Irish and Southeast and Southcentral England lines as well.


The surname is most commonly found in Southwest England. Specifically historic county names of Gloucestershire, Bristol, Wiltshire, Somerset, Dorset, Devon, and Cornwall (ref?). Some lines also from Ireland although it is not clear which is the older, more original location of the surname use.

We have included the Hord's, most commonly associated with Virginia and South Carolina, as early DNA results are showing a close association with the early English and Irish lines already being covered here.

The surnames Hoare and Hore are almost exclusive to Southern England and, at most, recent emigrants from there (last 200 years). Hoar appears more exclusive to North America and seems to have been Hore back in England. Hoar was commonly changed to Horr and Hoard in North America in the 1700's and from Horr to Harr in 1900. Hobart and Howard were more unique, isolated changes of the name in the 1700 and 1800's as well.

The Surname

We started the project based on the surname used upon immigration to the New England area in the 1600's of two lines. Hezekiah Hoar, a Puritan, from Devon, England who settled (in) Taunton, Massachusetts; and Charles Hoar's family from Gloucester, England arriving a little later into Sudbury, Massachusetts (see "English Origins of New England Families, 2nd Series: from the NEHGR", Volume II (of III), PAGE 377).

Researchers into both families claim the name in England was Hoar in the 1600's but (le) Hore earlier back to the 1300's in Wales and bordering Southwest England areas. More recent population studies and genealogical DNA testing performed is indicating the origin of (some of) the families is likely the Ui Niell clan of Ulster (now Northern Ireland) from the 500-800 A.D. era. Otherwise, previous research indicates the surname links to a William le Hore b.~1100 and one of the Norman invaders into Southern England.
Hoarfrost example

The origin of the surname varies depending on who you talk too. But the lore given by Norton Horr in his 1907 book fits best for this author. The claim there is that the name relates to the usage in the Old English language of the word hor meaning ancient or a form of grayish, off-white color — somewhere between pewter and a grayish, not clear, ice. Hence the term Hoar Frost to talk of the light icing in the morning. Or even possibly the term Hoar Fog in Scotland to talk of the eastern shore fog that forms off shore and blows in — very similar to that found in San Francisco. There is even a further claim that the use came from "hor" markers used to designate boundaries and roads. These stone markers grayed over time. The marks in early sundials bore this name as a result. And thus the origin of the words Hour and Year it seems. But why the color grey/white a significance? Norton's book, the authors family, and reports on some related families in the 1800's all indicate that members of this line go prematurely grey and remain so for many years (with no hair loss). And hence the surname given. Others try and tie the name to an area in England that went by Hor and hence the early name version of le Hore.

As for pronunciation, some claim the English name was pronounced more like Oar; with a silent H. The pronunciation in the Colonies was likely similar to Door but using a clearly pronounced 'H'. Thus the probable cause of so many name changes in the early years due to the similarity to "Whore" and its colloquial usage in North American English. Hore and Hoare are variations strongest still in England.

Once in the Colonies

Starting in 1630's Massachusetts, two major families arrive which have Hoar as the spelling. Shortly after, variations begin. We see Hoard, Horr, and Hor emerging as common changes. In the last 100 years, we see Harr, Shorr, Hobart, and Howard as well.

The change from Hoar to Hoard and Horr were common ones in the 1700's. We understand some continued to pronounce the name to rhyme with Door. But we also hear a pronunciation came into use more like Haw. Thus likely explaining some records written as Harr in the 1800's and many permanently changing the spelling to Harr around 1900 when written, vital records became enforced in North America. A pronunciation like Haw makes sense when you couple this with New England accents (specifically central Boston) that pronounce R's like W's.

The most extensive research found so far seems to be centered in North America and around the arrival of a family or individual into the New World. As awareness and knowledge is gained, likely more family lines, especially ones still in England, will be discovered or refined.

Surname Mailing Lists & Bulletin Boards

Click the '[+]' below the family LINE indicated to see its details. Following the known family research is a large section on DNA testing and how it relates into helping link into the known families given here.

English Lines

We should note that several Hoar lines of Devon lay claim to the Rigsford Manor connection and even a William le Hore, Norman invader. But then claim different ancestors attached to these locations or original people. Meaning, are really different lines but co-opt their stories to be their own. Something that needs to be clarified; possibly with the DNA project results assisting in disambiguating the mix of information.

Books and Articles Published
  • Hoare, Edward, Some account of the early history and genealogy, with pedigrees from 1330, unbroken to the present time, of the families of Hore and Hoare, 1883, A.R. Smith, London (Archive.org (external link))
    • Claims to tie in both Hezekiah and Charles Hoare lines of New England in 1600's. Research source of many others pre-emigration study on these lines.
  • Links to Devon(shire) (external link) which includes Chagford (external link) village and Rushford Manor (external link) just north of it. Both New England Hoar lines claim lineage to this area. Also see Devon Index (external link).
  • Long story attached to John Hore b.1552 (external link) profile that is part of tree fragment (external link)
Researchers (current)
Malcom Hoare Website (external link)(Traces to same Charles Hoar family from Gloucester that went to New England)
Shona Hore Tree (external link) Web (external link)(Traces to John Hore of Devon, b1552)
Nancy OrrGeni (external link) (Traces to John Hore of Devon b.1552)
Fraser Hore (Traces to William Hore of Devon b160x and William le Hore b1154 before that)

North American Lines

Much credit must be given to Roz Edson's all inclusive attempt to capture names and facts of Horr or Hoar surname lineage in North America. Her Rootsweb database (external link) of eighty thousand plus people is a testament to how the name was changed so often in the last three hundred years or more. As well as it documents the major and minor lines that have been researched along with the thousands of still isolated family lines that need to be linked in yet. We have as yet to discover a similar database covering U.K.-based research; if it exists.

Hezekiah Hoar (Hore) and Rebekah xxx (MA)


Charles Hoar (Hoare) and Joanna Hinksman (MA)


John Hord (Hoard, Hore) and Jane Jeane (VA)


Uncategorized or less researched lines

  • William Hoar (Bristol, Rhode Island, ~1743 or possibly Salem/Boston, MA ~1659; mentioned in Norton Horr's intro section)

DNA Technology for Genealogy

We first provide links to projects and service providers before following up with a backgrounder to explain this all.

DNA Surname Projects

Amazingly, going hand-in-hand with historical surname progression through the male line, there are genetic markers in the Y-chromosome that remain unchanged, for the most part. So Y-DNA testing becomes a great way to help identify which surname line a male belongs to if unsure. Or to verify that the believed surname line is correct.

Interestingly, there is a similar DNA marker test for maternal-only lines. Like for Y-DNA, a mitochondrial DNA (or mtDNA for short) marker test can be performed to see if two people are from the same maternal lineage. Unfortunately, there is no similar surname progression to more easily track this line and thus make it as popular and used. Also, the markers in mtDNA are far fewer and change infrequently, thus making them near useless in near-term (<500 years) genealogical studies.

For both tests, as one goes back just a few generations, the portion of ones ancestors from these two restricted lines becomes a very small part of ones overall pedigree. So Y-DNA and mtDNA testing is helpful in only a very limited portion of your ancestry. But as Y-DNA tracks directly with West European surname usage and custom, this has become a key addition to surname project research like covered here.

Surname FTDNA (external link) / WorldFam (external link) Other Notes
Hoar(e), Horr, Hoard Hoar (external link) Hoar et al Surname
Hord Hord (external link) John Hord family plantation (but matching the Hoar project DNA)
Hurd, Heard Heard (external link) Hurd/Heard line but subset has strong match to some in Hoar
Howard Howard (external link) A recent name that some Hoars officially changed too. Many direct DNA matches between this Howard surname project and the Hoar one.
Whitney Whitney (external link) one of the largest and apparently most successful
Harris Harris (external link)

DNA Test Services Providers (Genealogic)

Service 23andMe (external link) FamilyTreeDNA (external link) GeneBase (external link) AncestryDNA (external link) AncestryByDNA (external link) Genographic
 (external link)
Affiliation - Owned by GeneByGene (external link) - Formerly GeneTree (external link) - National Geographic (external link)
Public Search Database - Ysearch (external link),
MitoSearch (external link),
RSRS (external link)
(for mtDNA;
update of rCRS)
- Sorenson MGF (external link) - -
STR Y - Y-DNA-xx
- - - -
STR Autosomal * - - Identity (17) - Worldview (13) - -
Paternal (12),
- PaternalLineage Yes
20 Coding,
- MaternalLineage (HVR) Yes
SNP Autosomal Yes FamilyFinder ? Yes Origins (144) Yes
SNP X Yes - - - - - Yes
* STR Autosomal means the 13 CODIS-identified STR markers (external link) in the 22 Autosomal Chromosomes. This test and its results are normally exclusively used for identity in forensics (law enforcement) and paternity. They are useful only within a generation or so due to the low number of markers tested.

See the ISOGG listing (external link) of DNA Test Companies.

Third-party analysis:
GEDMatch (external link), Plink (external link), Others (external link)

  • SNP tests are traditionally used for Population Studies of groups thousands of years old and the source of Haplogroup work.
  • STR tests are traditionally used for Genealogic Time finding of relatives (roughly 700 years ago to present) and most popular in Western European Surname Studies.
  • Y and mtDNA are used for Paternal-only and Maternal-only line studies. Y tests can only be performed on male subjects.
  • Autosomal are useful for near term (within 7 generations or so) studies of "blood" relationships between people. Because covering all chromosomes, is diluted quickly within a 4-5 generations.
  • Most of these companies operate in the USA and only ship to USA or Canada. See ISOGG listing (external link) of DNA Test Companies for those that operate outside North America or specifically Shipping DNA Kits (external link) link for ways to get around the restriction.
  • 23andMe, although the newest company, is by far the biggest (most SNP's tested) and most popular (most people tested). They offer all the tests for one basic price. But they promote themselves primarily as a health traits and occurrence predictor. So even though AutoSNP is included and supported, many "relatives" (close matches) do not respond to requests for collaboration on genealogy. As of 22 November, 23andMe has voluntarily stopped making their health indications results available to new customers. They still provide testing of nearly 1 million SNP's across all the DNA and allow the download of the complete results so you can do your own analysis with other resources.
  • FamilyTreeDNA allows the purchase of an import kit for 23andMe's data. The import removes the need to take the FamilyTreeDNA FamilyFinder test. The import discards X, Y and mtDNA results though.
  • FamilyTreeDNA and 23andMe use different SNP marker nomenclature. FamilyTreeDNA and ISOGG use a simplified naming that usually starts with a capital letter identifying the research source followed by a few digits. Their name also implies a specific change for the marker. 23andMe uses the NIH dbSNP (external link) standard nomenclature that usually starts with rs followed by many digits. They then separately give you the tested value for that marker. A mapping between the two is in the SNP Index link of each years tree at ISOGG (for example, SNP Index (external link)). Only later indices show (importantly) what the ISOGG name implies in terms of the expected nucleotide value to be viewed as a positive test for that marker.

DNA Results Analysis — Quick Summary


DNA Test Backgrounder


Other Genealogical DNA Resources


Original intro and purpose of this page


Created by: system. Last Modification: Saturday 24 of June, 2017 09:19:18 PDT by Randy. (Version 149)
The content on this page is licensed under the terms of the Site License.