The purpose of the Horth Families DNA project is to promote exchange of information and solution of genealogical issues using DNA in all interested Horth, Hoerth, Hörth, Hoerdt, Orth, Hjorth and families with similar names worldwide.
The name Horth or similar has arisen on at least eight separate occasions, but it is rare everywhere.
1. The name has existed in various spellings in the Norwich, Norfolk County, England, area since at least the 1300's. Although there was no real standardization of spelling until about 1800, the name seems to have started off most commonly spelled Hothe, then the final E was dropped, then the R inserted. Horths from this family have migrated to North America on at least four separate occasions; New England in the 1720's, British Columbia in the 1860's, Texas in 1868 and Chicago in 1869. At least one Norwich Horth has migrated to Australia. The majority of Horths in the U.S. now are descendants of the New England immigrant.
2. The Horth family of Québec Province has been traced to the Montreal area in 1796, and may be of German origin with a change in spelling, possibly from Orth or Hoerdt. There may even be two separate immigants who established Horth families in the same area. Until recently, all members of this large French-speaking family lived on the Gaspé peninsula, but are now found spread over Québec and elsewhere.
3. The Horth family of Austria comes from one small town near the Hungarian border where many people are of Croatian descent. One member of this family migrated to the U.S. in 1929.
4. The name Hörth (o with an umlaut) is fairly common in Germany, especially in the state of Baden. To German speakers, ö (o-umlaut) and o are very different vowels. At least 60 German Hörths have migrated to the U.S., mostly between about 1850 and 1910. Some changed there name to Horth while others changed it to Hoerth. Many of these families followed Catholic tradition. One Jewish family may also have come from Germany and originally been Hörths, but their origin is not currently known to the writer.
5. One Hoerth (or Hoerdt, pronounced the same) family who lived in the Alsace probably came originally from Switzerland and may have been Hörth there. The Alsace has sometimes been part of Germany, but ended up in France as borders have shifted over the years. There is no umlaut in French so the ö may have been changed to oe. One branch of this French family moved to French Guiana in South America in the 1600's, and while leaving no biological descendants, did adopt, so the name continues there as Horth. Another branch of this French family moved to Bassarabia in Russia near the Black Sea in the early 1800's, where they sometimes spelled the name Hert or Hordt. Some descendants eventually moved to the U.S. and Canada where they spell the name Hoerth. Other members of this French family moved directly to the U.S., generally to the mid-west, and also spell the name Hoerth.
6. Two families of African origin with similar names have lived in the U.S. One family, who spelled their name Harth, lived in South Carolina and Virginia from at least 1859. On one occasion they were listed as Horth in the census. Another family, who spelled their name Hoarth, lived in North Carolina and Mississippi from at least 1823. The origin of the names is unknown to the writer.
7. A name of similar pronunciation occurs in Cambodia, but is written in the Khmer script. At least one member of this family migrated to Austrialia, where the name is spelled Horth in the Latin alphabet.
6. The name Hjorth, pronounced approximately like "Yort," is fairly common in Scandinavia. At least one Hjorth migrated to Australia and dropped the j. At least one Hjortn migrated to the U.S. and retained the spelling Hjorth
DNA testing has become fairly inexpensive and very easy. Many companies offer similar tests for both Y-DNA (male descent) and mtDNA (female descent). The test is very easy to do, involving just brushing the inside of your cheek with small toothbrushes.
For family name studies such as this which primarily follow male lines, Y-DNA is used. There are two kinds of information to be derived form Y-DNA, called haplogroups and STR's (Short Term Repeats). The haplogroups change very slowly over time, and are mostly informative about very long-term ancestry. The STR's change somewhat more frequently and can be useful for genealogy. There are at least 67 STR's that can be tested. They are usually measured in groups, such as 12, 25, 37 or all 67, with the larger groups costing more money. For our genelogical purposes, I recommend the 37 STR test. It can clearly show relationship to a family. If you are trying to resolve a very particular relationship question, 67 STR's may be helpful, but for most genealogical questions it is probably overkill.
DNA Results as of November 2010
So far we have had three Horth family members tested. All are of haplogroup R1b1b2, as are a large fraction of people of northwest Europe.
#1 is of the New England Family, James Branch.
#2 is of the Norwich Family, Branch B.
#3 is of the Québec family.
STR #1 #2 #3
----- ---- ---- ----
DYS393 13 13 13
DYS390 23 23 23
DYS19 14 14 14
DYS391 10 10 <> 11
DYS385i 11 11 11
ii 14 14 14
DYS426 12 12 12
DYS388 12 12 12
DYS439 11 11 11
DYS389i 13 13 13
DYS392 13 13 13
DYS389ii 29 29 29
DYS458 16 16 <> 17
DYS459i 9 9 9
ii 10 10 10
DYS455 11 11 11
DYS454 11 11 11
DYS447 25 25 25
DYS437 15 15 <> 16
DYS448 19 19 19
DYS449 29 29 <> 27
DYS464i 15 15 15
ii 16 16 16
iii 17 17 17
iv 17 17 <> 18
DYS460 11 11 11
Y-GATA-H4 11 11 11
YCAIIi 19 19 19
ii 23 23 23
DYS456 15 15 <> 16
DYS607 15 15 15
DYS576 18 <> 19 <> 17
DYS570 18 18 <> 17
CDYi 37 <> 36 <> 38
ii 40 <> 39 39
DYS442 12 12 12
DYS438 12 12 12
Note that there are three one-step differences near the bottom of the table between members 1 and 2. From what I have seen on another website which already has many members tested to 37 STRs and a known date for the last common ancestor, 3 differences probably represent something like 400 years or a bit more since our last common ancestor. This is consistent with the genealogical records, which suggest 400 years or so, i.e., 1500's or early 1600's.
This data, combined with other evidence, erases the last doubt in my mind that the New England Family descends from the Norwich Family. Future testing of more Horths may enable us to pin down more precisely how we are related, as well as the relationship between the Norwich Family branches.
The Québec family member, while also of haplogroup R1b1b2, differs by 8 one-step differences plus 1 two-step differences from the Norwich members. This suggests to me that the last common male-line ancestor may be a thousand or more years ago. The split could have been in England or on the continent. Since family names for commoners are probably less than 1000 years old, it makes it a bit hard to decide what all this implies. Clearly, we need more testing of Horths and those with similar names on the continent. I'm only an amateur at this, so if anyone is knowledgeble in interpreting Y-DNA results, I would appreciate your thoughts and comments. Please email the project administrator, Tom Horth, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Details About the Families
The Norwich Family (revised 7/2010)
All of the Horth families of England seem to have originated in and around Norwich in Norfolk. As mentioned in the Acknowledgments, James R Horth extensively researched and published their genealogies. He reviewed all of the extant parish registers of Norwich and all of the Horth entries in the Somerset House records. Due to gaps in the records, he was not able to assemble everyone into one giant family tree. He did manage to connect nearly all present-day Horths to one of 9 families, which he labeled Branches A through J. Later, Branches A and D were traced to common ancestors. In addition to the branches designated by Jim, I have added some new designations. The New England/New York branch is Branch N. The Norwich branch in which the name Rising Horth occurs frequently is Branch R. Several branches from the Great Yarmouth area on the coast east of Norwich have been designated with Y plus a number. A branch in Suffolk, southeast of Norwich, has been designated S.
A dedicated group of researchers are now working on refining the family trees.
Branches A and D trace to James Horth and Mary Woods who married in St. James-with-Pockthorpe Parish in 1737. The Edward Horth family of Chicago is of Branch D. Branch A-D and also Branch R are covered by the following website:
Branch B has been recently corrected. It is now almost certainly traced to William Horth and Mary ___ who married about 1748 and lived in St. James with Pockthorpe Parish, then moved to St. Andrews parish about 1763. The original branch which traces to Thomas Horth and Mary Pightling who lived in Norwich, but married in Kirby Bedon just outside Norwich in 1720, has been re-designated Branch B1. Both Jim and Ron Horth, the main researchers of the Horths in England, were members of Branch B, as is the Horth family of British Columbia. Two websites cover this Branch: http://rosserhenderson.tribalpages.com
Branches C and E are from around Lowestoft and Great Yarmmouth on the coast east of Norwich. They are the only branches Jim did not publish in detail. Some of the Horths in that area have proved to be members of one or another of the Norwich branches. The others have been re-designated as Y branches.
Branch F traces to John Horth and Susannah Wilson who married in St. Michael-at-Thorn Parish in 1819.
Branch G traces to James Horth and Susannah Parsons who married in St. Andrews Parish in 1829, and William Horth and Sarah Patey who married in St. Augustine Parish, also in 1829. James and William were probably brothers. DNA testing could possibly prove this.
Branch H traces to William Horth and Ann Emery who married in St.. Ives Parish in 1814.
Branch J traces to William Horth and Hester Minns who were married in Thorpe Episcopi in 1842.
For these other branches, see:
The New England / New York Family, who comprise the vast majority of Horths in the U.S., have been traced to the Horths living at the very southern end of the old walled city of Norwich, in St. Peter Southgate Parish and vicinity. They are desinated Branch N, and have been traced to Richard Hoath and Margarett who married about 1667. The entire North American part of the family descends from Thomas Horth, the Minuteman, and his wife Judah Fuller who married ca. 1757 in Rhode Island. They had three sons who all have living descendants, Francis, James and Richard, after whom I have designated the sub-branches of this family. If we can test the DNA of a member of each of the three branches, we should be able to triangulate on the DNA of Thomas, the Minuteman. The following website covers the Norwich ancestry and first 5 or 6 generations of this family in the U.S. http://horthnewengland.tribalpages.com
The Quebéc Family
We now have the first DNA results for the Quebéc family, and they are of the same haplogroup as the Norwich family, but sufficiently different in the STR's to suggest that they are probably not from Norwich. Haplogroup R1b1b2 is fairly common in northwest Europe, and the Quecbéc family is almost certainly originally from that area. We need to find people with similar names (Hörth, Orth, Hoerth) and Horths from France who are willing to be DNA tested to sort this out.
An outline of the genealogy of the Québec family is now at:
The Hoerth Family of Alsace
The Alsace family probably originated in Switzerland. Descendents live in Guyane, Russia, Canada and the U.S. For more information, see:
The German-American Horth and Hoerth Families
More than 60 Hörth individuals and families have migrated from Germany to the U.S. Some changed there name to Horth and other to Hoerth. For more information, see: http://horthgermanamerican.tribalpages.com
Many Horths have worked on the genealogy of the families over the years. Here are some of them.
James R. Horth of Goodmayes, Essex, England, now deceased, did the principal research on the Horths of England, who all seem to have come from Norwich originally. He published his results in 10 volumes which occupy at least 6 inches (15 cm.) of shelf space. This was all done before computers. Jim typed the pages and hand-drew the charts despite crippling arthritis. Copies of these volumes are available on paper in the U.S. at the LDS library in Salt Lake City and the NEHGS library in Boston. They may also be available in England at the Ilford & District Historical Society in Ilford. In addition, your project administrator has a personal set. See the page on the Norwich Family for more detail on Jim's work.
Ronald A Horth of Redhill, Surrey and later Hexham, Northumberland, now also deceased, assisted Jim and carried on the work after Jim's death, publishing several more papers. Ron also researched the Horth Family of France and Guiana. Both Jim and Ron would be thrilled at the new possibilities opened up by the Internet and DNA genealogy.
Raynald Horth of Rimouski, Québec, has done extensive research on the Québec Family and published a book on their history and genealogy, of which I have a copy.
Alan Horth of Canberra, Australia, has done research on the various Horths in that country, including those who came from Norwich, Cambodia and Scandinavia.
Thomas C. Horth of Newburyport, Massachusetts, U.S.A., has researched the Horth families of the U.S. and western Canada, including those from Norwich, France, Germany, Austria and Québec.
Many, many others have contributed greatly in a variety of ways, many via personal communications and via information posted on websites.