Harlan Family History & Genealogy

5,774 biographies and 38 photos with the Harlan last name. Discover the family history, nationality, origin and common names of Harlan family members.

Harlan Last Name History & Origin



The name Harland and it's derivative Harlan, originated most likely in Norway. Earliest records find the name present in England. Two Harland's, George and Michael emigrated to America after residing in Ireland. The two brothers were members of the Society of Friends most commonly referred to as Quakers. They arrived in New Castle, Delaware in 1687 and their families established themselves in Delaware and Pennsylvania. It is from these two men that many of the Harlan's in America today have descended.


The name was spelled Harland in England. When George and Michael Harland emigrated to America, they decide to drop the letter 'd' from their Surname.

Name Origin

The Harland Family name was found concentrated in Middlesbrough, England. There are two explanations given as to the origin of the Harland name. One is, it was a locational name derived from the Old English 'HAR' meaning hare. The dweller of the land lived in an area infested with hares.The other, more probable origin of the name was procured by the men after the Crusades in Europe. The name meant "one who came from Haerland in Norway.

Spellings & Pronunciations

The name Harlan was first spelled Harland. Upon emigration to America, George and Michael dropped the letter 'd' from their Surname.

Nationality & Ethnicity

The Harland's of America were born in England.

Famous People named Harlan

There are many Harlan's that were prominent American politicians. One, James Harlan (1820-1899) was a Senator and Secretary of the Interior.

Early Harlans

These are the earliest records we have of the Harlan family.


Harlan Family Tree

Discover the most common names, oldest records and life expectancy of people with the last name Harlan.

Most Common First Names

Updated Harlan Biographies

Popular Harlan Biographies

Harlan Death Records & Life Expectancy

The average age of a Harlan family member is 73.0 years old according to our database of 4,532 people with the last name Harlan that have a birth and death date listed.


Other Harlan Records


Share memories about your Harlan family

Leave comments and ask questions related to the Harlan family.

Leave a comment
The simple act of leaving a comment shows you care.
Erlene Best commented on Feb 11, 2011
A Portrait of George Harlan (#672)
Submitted by Arnold "Tim" Suter, Gibbstown, N.J.
Extracted from a letter to Phillip Suter, from his aunt, Helen Vickroy Austin (#5759), Jan. 27, 1920

"I remember Grandfather George Harlan very well. I do not know as much of his history as I ought to. He was a large man, six feet two inches and stout. He and his brother Joshua, who was a pioneer of Connersville, Fayette County, Indianna: [sic] were said to be the two handsomest men between the two Miami Rivers, Mother used to tell us. He was very fair and had blue eyes. He had a heavy beard but always shaved. When I knew him his hair was white. He was fat and fair and quite lame from inflammatory rheumatism. He had been a great athlete in his prime and in wrestling with an Indian "downed" him three times, he used to relate. Grandfather had a strong intellect and was very intelligent and had a library, that for the time was very extensive. He was a great talker and fond of telling anecdotes and "yarns" and was a great laugher and cheerful and cordial and hospitable."

Correction The burial site of George and Elizabeth Harlan is at Centre Meeting House in Centerville, Del., not Old Kennett Meeting House in Chadds Ford, as mentioned in the September Reunion letter.
Back to Top