Its source is Harry, an English name meaning "Home leader."
The name Harrison ranked 203rd in popularity for males of all ages in a sample of 2000-2003 Social Security Administration statistics and 568th in popularity for males of all ages in a sample of the 1990 US Census.
Though this name appears on the 1990 U.S. Census lists, it is used by only a small percentage of the general population.
When the Normans conquered England in 1066, French names imposed on the population often took the place of those names' Ancient Germanic ancestors. For instance, Henri supplanted its ancestor Heimrich.
However, the English had difficulty pronouncing that French name (with its nasal ''en'' and cat-like ''r''). It came out sounding like Harry, and so the name was pronounced.
Literate aristocrats, many of them descendants of the Normans, named their sons Henri, but used the Latin spelling Henricus for official documents; this developed into the now-familiar English Henry.
However, among commoners and nobles alike, the Harry pronunciation remained popular long enough to stick as a nickname and to spawn the surnames Harris and Harrison, both of which literally mean ''Harry's son.''