Silence is the virtue of fools. -Sir Francis Bacon


What's the history/origin of the last name Hardstark?

... Repeat Offender


Dear Repeat Offender,


No, I didn't come up with a clever rhyme to get an unanswerable 150-hour-old question out of our inbox just for you to put it right back in. As I said in the hovertext in the original question, hard and stark mean basically the same thing, and Hardstark isn't nearly common enough of a surname for anyone to have published a history/origin for it.

Have a nice day,

-The Entomophagist


Dear friend,

There are apparently nine of them in the entire world. I think your best bet at this point is to ask one of them. They may be the only people in this universe who know.

-Van Goff


Dear yusef,

I agree with Ento. His original response was great.

But I also agree with you because holy cow this name is hard to track down and the hunt is fascinating.

I found some related-but-not-exact things online that suggested it could be Swedish/Old Norse in origin, but this Ancestry record seemed to suggest it might be Polish. 

Screen Shot 2017-07-18 at 10.47.05 AM.png (source)

But when you search "Haroztag" nothing comes up except this entry from Ancestry, so I checked with Sherpa Dave, our resident Polsih specialist. He said Haroztag is not Polish, but it could be Jewish. He said it's also likely that the actual spelling might be "Harcsztark," since the pronunciation sounds similar and there's a history of immigrants changing names when they came to the States (though not for the reasons you might think). 

A Google book confirmed the Jewish origin of Harcsztark and listed Harzstark as another spelling. There's a lot of records for that spelling, but mostly on Ancestry where you can't see them unless you have account. I don't have an account, but luckily the library does so I went to see what I could find. There was a good number of Harzstark's born in Poland, but also a small clan that I found in what is currently L'viv, Ukraine. At the time (around 1891), though, this was Austro-Hungary, and it was also part of the Poland-Lithuania Commonwealth at one point. Based on that, and more consulting with Sherpa Dave about the Slavic language family, I feel pretty confident that it's of Slavic origin. 

So, tl;dr it's an Americanized Slavic name. 

Take care,

-Auto Surf (and Sherpa Dave)

posted on 08/11/2017 8:25 p.m.
Well, Georgia Hardstark (host of My Favorite Murder podcast) IS Jewish so I believe Auto Surf did great research on this one.