This intriguing name is of medieval English origin and is locational from places so called in Durham and Northumberland. Both are situated on rivers, the former on Hartburn Beck, and recorded in the "Life of St. Godric" circa 1190 as "Herteburna", and in the Fees of 1208, as Herteburn. The place in Northumberland is on the Hart Burn, and is recorded as "Herteburne" in the Charter Rolls of 1198. During the Middle Ages, it became customary for people migrating from their birth place to adopt the placename as a means of identification, thus resulting in a wide dispersal of the name. One, Agnes Hartburn was christened on November 26th 1570 at Great Stainton, Durham. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Isabell Hartbourn (marriage to Thomas Ryddesdell), which was dated April 30th 1564, "Redmarshall Church, Durham", during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.