The H600 Project: A Surname Study utilizes DNA analysis along with traditional genealogical records to link family lines through the centuries. The project is open to all family members with a covered surname, and all variations and derivatives in all locations. We also do one-name study work for these surnames.

The Hore, Hoar, and Hoare surnames covered here are the most common still used in England and around much of the world today. It is believed they have common roots (that is, are variations) but we may find they are distinct.

Surnames and Surname Studies

Surnames are Patrilineal in most Europeans in that they follow the male line down for many generations. This happens to correspond to the transfer of a near-identical copy of the Y Chromosome in the cell nucleus down this same line and hence the benefit of merging DNA analysis with patrilineal (surname) records research to create the initial family thread through time. This Surname Study, like most, concentrates on using yDNA testing first to verify patrilineal lines with an Earliest Known Ancestor (EKA) that existed 300 to 900 years ago. We expand support to Autosomal DNA testing to match non-patrilineal family branches in the last 100-200 years. We hope to build some ability for 200 to 400 year out extreme autosomal matching as well. Autosomal testing helps in that any person can test, not just the patrilineal (male line) direct descendant. See our page on Genetic Genealogy for a further explanation of these DNA techniques.

Surname Studies are used for the early development of family lines from European cultures hundreds of years back. Mainly by looking for and collecting all uses of the surname and then working to link them into family branches. Just the collection of a name is termed a one-name study. Work to make patrilineal lines is a Surname Study. In Europe, male ancestors with the inherited surname are often the first and easiest to find and link up through the last 500 years of available records. Thus providing a thread through time. When the threads of all the other family members are found, a fabric of ones ancestry can be woven. It must be stated that the lineage and web of whole families is as much, if not more, a contribution of the mother's involved. Mothers whose birth surname is often lost when creating a new family, historically. The goal here is to recreate the nuclear families (not just patriarchs) that existed by starting with the patrilineal line first extracted. Think of how you build rock candy from a sea of sugar water. You start with a thread (the patrialine) and then work to grow the larger chunks of candy (the related family members) on it.

Surname Studies (and genealogy in general) are possible due to historical written records of commoner families being kept in most European cultures. Surnames had become common in conjunction with the start of record keeping (that is, the growth of written record and surname use are intertwined). Earliest records were tax rolls to help determine who and what to tax. The Roman Catholic church mandated parish records recording the sacraments for all parish members in many Western European countries in the 1500's. Parish records exist in some places back into the middle ages. Historically otherwise, only royal families or breading stock had their lines recorded and tracked. It should be noted that many other governmental documents developed over the same time period also (for example, to distribute property after death) that contribute greatly to any study.

Surnames in this project

Hoare is the most common surname that exists today; predominantly in Southern England and Ireland with a large concentration in Oceania as well. Hore is rare today and mostly isolated to a very narrow area around Devonshire but also significant in Australia. Hore was most often changed to Hoar when emigrating to North America. As a result, Hoar is most common in North America and almost always derives from the Hore base in England. Once in North America, a change from Hoar to Horr or Hoard was common in the 1700's. More recently, some have changed to existing surnames like Harr. Orr, Ore and Oar. The latter three dropping the H that was silent in some British use of the surname; the former to a spelling more like how the name was pronounced in 1800's Massachusetts. A few family lines did a more explicit, drastic name change to a existing surname of Hobart, Howard, or Shorr by adding one or more consonants (similar toHoard mentioned earlier). Hord is a special case we are including as (a) there are some distinct lines in North America but the surname is not common in England and (b) early DNA tests are showing an overlap with the main surname lines and geographic origins covered here. Hord was sometimes changed to Hoard in North America and thus causing a further overlap of variations. Other variations we have seen reported are Hoor, Hoore, Hor, and Horre. A believed early based surname of (de) le Hore is reported in research but unknown whether linked at this time. There may be more. See our Surname Frequency page for more information. It is not clear yet which of these are Variants, Deviants or simply purposeful changes.

The Hore surname appears to originate first of the three and during the early middle ages in Southwest England. Early roots to / from Ireland exist as do branches in Wales at that time.  The wider Southern to Middle England soon took root during the adoption of surnames among the general population. There are some old references claiming the Hore name sourced with a Norman invader from Auray, Brittany in France and more specifically a William de le Hore. A named descendant then went as Strongbow's flag bearer to retake Ireland for the deposed Irish king at King Edward's request.  We will use the DNA work to help verify or disprove these stories of old and others. We are still investigating the historical use of Hoar and Hoare more fully to see if they are truly variations of Hore or originated separately in their own right.

This particular Surname Study seems to hit a sweet spot of factors that make it successful as a project:
  1. the surnames are more rare and unique in use. Thus making research back for hundreds of years more fruitful as the name is not common and thus more easily tracked.
  2. the surname has changed often over the past 500-800 years and thus people often hit roadblocks in traditional research when they do not look for the change. And
  3. the surname seems to have been distinct and isolated to a small area of England (and Ireland) before spreading out further and transforming.
As a result of these factors, we are having an early success with using genetic genealogy, in conjunction with traditional methods, to link people who are separated by hundreds of years (10 generations or more) and sometimes very different surnames. And also helping many stumped researchers get past roadblocks with traditional records research. So if your DNA is hitting a match in one of our project subgroups, or you think there was a name change in your past, then come explore our project further.

While our has always led to origins inside the UK, there are other origins of variants that overlap here. Specifically, Scandinavian and German origin names of Harr, Hőrr, and Hœrr. If verified not a military shortening of a longer name (e.g. Harrington), then we can explore expanding our scope and coverage to these names as well. After all, this was thought to be the source of the surname for one of the founders here. And they do still meet our Soundex Code project name. Linguistic study seems to imply these variations in Nordic and Germanic areas may have had similar origins to surnames here; if the hair color story is predominant. But they likely developed in parallel in these other locations.

Site Navigation

The real genealogical results to help any user, whether you have done any DNA testing or not, are in the Family Branches pages. Our DNA Groupings pages provide the bridge from the yDNA and other genetic genealogy testing to our Family Branches page.  Sometimes discoveries there force preliminary new, earlier Family Branches pages as start linking families that previously were thought independent. This is the real crux of the work on this site. Our Autosomal DNA work is contained in Sub-Branches of the DNA Groupings pages but often visible only to the participating, tested and matching members. To get started in DNA Genetic testing, see our Genetic Genealogy page. There is a developing Glossary to help with all the terms and a generalized About Us and Site Help set of pages; what is visible there is very dependent on who is logged in. Finally, to aid our members, there are Members pages where they can build up wikis of their own interest and work. These are all the Wiki Structures. Make sure to visit the other aspects of this site such as the Forums, Blogs, Articles, and File Galleries.

Discovered History of the Surname

(citations needed here; needs to become an article or separate page?)
During the middle ages, it appears the surname was predominantly Hore in Devon, England and Hoare in other parts of Southwest England and far-eastern Ireland. Hoar became a predominant variation upon arrival in the North America in the 1600's and beyond. It is believed to have been pronounced H-aw-r in England and is still that way today in the Boston and Maine area. But those simply seeing the spelling later on seemed to have caused a pronunciation change over time to the more phonetically-looking way that rhymes with Door and makes the H explicit. Due to similarity with another term in more common use in the America's, this is likely the reason for the more drastic changes to other forms like Hoard. The New England pronunciation would explain the change to Harr by many in the late 1800's when written records of people started becoming required in North America. There is an anecdotal citation and much written on whether leading H's are silent or not (especially on changed North American pronunciations of English words — think Herb as a spice versus a person's given name; or Where versus Who where the opposite consonant is silent in each.)

There are many different origins to surnames as explained at the Guild. Some claim this surname is locative and derives from a Norman (Brittany) town of Auray as the English lines appear to link to a Norman invader and possibly a family there. The early use of "le Hore" and "de la Hore" would seem to indicate this. Others believe the surname is a nickname derived from the old English color and the name of marker stones. The stones were of a type of granite that would turn whitish with age and was found naturally in the Southwest England and Wexford, Ireland areas; especially Devon. The color definition is also used to explain the origin of terms such as Hoar Frost and Hoar Fog. The English word Hour is supposedly also sourced from this term as it was a marker of time as opposed to distance on the road. So the surname may still be locative with this explanation and derive for people that come from the area where these outcroppings of rock occur. Another explanation tied to the color theme is that those with the surname went prematurely greyish-white without losing any hair. Hence the surname is after a hair color (physical appearance) and not location (locative). For many in this group today, they definitely still exhibit this historical claim of hair and thus we wonder if there is a gene variation and test that could explain this. But the statistical significance and genetic trace is not really understood to make any claim one way or the other; especially since many in the population (not just this patrilineal line) exhibit this early white hair syndrome.

Why the (re)branding to H600?

How did we come up with the name H600 for the project? We needed an easily identifiable domain name where most/all of the common extensions were available; so confusion would not exist. While one of the main surnames could work, it would potentially label us as partial or specific to that surname. Roz had been using the US Census Bureau Soundex code for the three main variations of the original name for years — H600. This happens to cover some variants the name was changed to as well. (Except for the special class of H630 — can you determine what variations fit that?) So this led to a simple, easy-to-remember domain name that was available in (almost) all the major TLDs (including .eu and .uk). The project (re)branding process thus occurred and led to the birth of this site..

What we are or are not

  • We are a site to publish information that others have discovered or collected to thus aid others in their research.  And to that end, to be a one-name study on all things related to the Surname.  As a result, we have registered with the Guild of One-Name Studies (GoONS). But we also try and avoid republishing material here and instead hope to simply reference it from other sites and work. Where information is truly unique and newly created by this study, we source it here.
  • We are not a site to settle disputes but to highlight newly discovered information that is uncovered or derived by the members. The hope is that we can all come to agreement on the likely, most correct interpretation of known information. And maybe develop and promote strong evidence and proofs to support or dispute earlier work. Our over-riding goal is to make all information (or references thereof) available to everyone as much as possible so everyone can draw their own conclusions.
  • We are not a heraldry site. While some of the families are formally cataloged and listed in the college of heraldry, we are not trying to prove or disprove families and their participation there. To the extent that coats of arms or crests are similar and in use among what are seemingly disparate families, we only use that information along with other clues given by DNA and written records to develop our best hypothesis on likely relations. DNA is providing a big benefit to helping prove or disprove theories in this regard; possibly better than accepted, documented Heraldry records may show.