Howard is a common English language surname. Its origins are unclear. One theory is that it derived from the Norman-French personal name “Huard” or “Heward” adapting after the Norman Conquest of 1066. Another theory is that its origin may be pre 7th century Germanic from the personal name “Hughard” (prefix hug, meaning “heart”/”spirit”; suffix hard, meaning “hardy”/”brave”). Yet another theory is that the surname derived from the Anglo-Scandinavian personal name “Haward” (prefix ha, meaning “high”; suffix varthr, meaning “guardian”). The first public record of the surname is dated 1221 in Cambridgeshire. There are several variant surname spellings.
Our family connection is entirely East Anglian, beginning in Wickhampton, a sleepy village outside Great Yarmouth and ending in the castles and palaces of Westminster, Greenwich and elsewhere. The royal connection between our Howards and the royal line are disputed but have strong documented evidence. Even the purely academic connections are disputed but have interesting and involved stories resulting in proven family crests given by James II of Great Britain to the “pretenders” that we are descended from.
There are a number of different family crest for Howard and we are currently researching the disputed one awarded by heralds to the instructions of James II.