The surname of HARRISON was a baptismal name 'the son of Henry' an ancient and popular font name meaning 'home-ruler'. Early records of the name mention Henry Hennerissone, 1354 Chester. Robert Harriesone, was documented in 1355 in the County of Yorkshire. Reginald Herryson of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379 and Thomas Harrisonne appears in County Lancashire in the year 1400. Following the crusades in Europe in the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries, a need was felt for a family name to replace the one given at birth, or in addition to it. This was recognized by those of noble birth, and particularly by those who went on the Crusades, as it added prestige and practical advantage to their status. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function of the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped and flowing garment worn over the armour. Later instances of the name include John Harries who registered at Oxford University in 1510. Edward Broke married Anne Harrys in London in the year of 1547. William Henry Harrison (1773-1841) was the 9th President of the United States. Both Harris and Harrison are extremely common English surnames; the former tends to be more common in the West Midlands and South West England, whereas the latter is commonest in the North of England. A large and influential American family are descended from Benjamin Harrison, who emigrated from England to Virginia in 1633 or 1634. Ancestors include another Benjamin Harrison (1726-91) who was an activist in the American Revolution and a signatory of the Declaration of Independance. His son William Henry Harrison (1773-1841) and great grandson Benjamin Harrison (1833-1901) both became president of the United States. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. The eagle depicted in the crest is emblematical of fortitude and magnanimity of mind. The Romans used the figure of an eagle for their ensign, and their example has been often followed. It is the device of Russia, Austria, Germany and the United States of America.
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