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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Where did the Welsh Humphrey family come from? What is the Welsh Humphrey family crest and coat of arms? When did the Humphrey family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Humphrey family history?

The Humphrey surname comes from the Old French personal name Humfrey, a cognate of the Old German names Hunfrid and Humfrid. This name was originally derived from the Germanic elements "hun," which means "bear cub," and "frid" or "fred," which mean "peace." It was borne by a 9th century saint and Bishop of Therouanne, who was popular among Norman settlers of England.


Welsh surnames are relatively few in number, but they have an inordinately large number of spelling variations. There are many factors that explain the preponderance of Welsh variants, but the earliest is found during the Middle Ages when Welsh surnames came into use. Scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, which often resulted in a single person's name being inconsistently recorded over his lifetime. The transliteration of Welsh names into English also accounts for many of the spelling variations: the unique Brythonic Celtic language of the Welsh had many sounds the English language was incapable of accurately reproducing. It was also common for members of a same surname to change their names slightly, in order to signify a branch loyalty within the family, a religious adherence, or even patriotic affiliations. For all of these reasons, the many spelling variations of particular Welsh names are very important. The surname Humphrey has occasionally been spelled Humphreys, Homfray, Humfrey, Humfrie, Humfries, Humfreys, Humphereys, Humphries, Humphrays, Humphray, Humphrey, Humphris, Humphry, Humphryes and many more.

First found in Denbighshire (Welsh: Sir Ddinbych), a historic county, created in 1536 at the Act of Union with England, and located in Northeast Wales, where they held a family seat from very early times and were granted lands by Duke William of Normandy, their liege Lord, for their distinguished assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Humphrey research. Another 171 words(12 lines of text) covering the years 1069, 1391, 1447, 1714, 1579, 1647, 1674, 1621, 1719, 1662, 1648, 1712, 1701, 1712, 1735 and are included under the topic Early Humphrey History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 187 words(13 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Humphrey Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Humphrey family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 101 words(7 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


In the 1800s and 1900s, many Welsh families left for North America, in search of land, work, and freedom. Those who made the trip successfully helped contribute to the growth of industry, commerce, and the cultural heritage of both Canada and the United States. In the immigration and passenger lists were a number of people bearing the name Humphrey

Humphrey Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • John Humphrey, who settled in Salem in 1634
  • Amey Humphrey, who landed in Virginia in 1634
  • John Humphrey (c. 15971661), an English Puritan from Dorset who arrived in Massachusetts in 1634, not before being Deputy Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony (1629-1630)
  • Jonas Humphrey, who landed in Dorchester, Massachusetts in 1639
  • Michael Humphrey, who landed in Connecticut in 1642

Humphrey Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Joseph Humphrey, who arrived in Virginia in 1706
  • Evan Humphrey, who arrived in Virginia in 1710
  • Jane Humphrey, who landed in New England in 1719
  • Jennet Humphrey, who landed in New England in 1719
  • William Humphrey, who landed in New England in 1719

Humphrey Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Alex Humphrey, who landed in New York, NY in 1812
  • Sarah Humphrey, aged 14, arrived in New York in 1862


  • George Magoffin Humphrey (1890-1970), American politician, who was the Secretary of the Treasury (1953-1957)
  • Hubert Horatio Humphrey Jr. (1911-1978), American politician, Mayor of Minneapolis, Senator from Minnesota, and 38th US Vice-President (1965-1969)
  • Maud Humphrey (1868-1940), American commercial artist, illustrator and watercolorist and mother of actor Humphrey Bogart
  • Gordon J. Humphrey (b. 1940), American politician, U.S. Senator from New Hampshire (1979-1990)
  • Ryan Ashley Humphrey (b. 1979), American professional NBA basketball player
  • Doris Batcheller Humphrey (1895-1958), American dancer and choreographer, active in the early 1900s
  • Barbara Ann "Bobbi" Humphrey (b. 1950), American jazz flautist and singer
  • Percy Gaston Humphrey (1905-1995), American jazz trumpet player and bandleader, leader of the Eureka Brass Band
  • Jack Weldon Humphrey (1901-1967), Canadian painter
  • Nicholas Humphrey (b. 1943), British psychologist



  • The Marlett Family in Southeast, Midwest, and Southwest United States, With Connections to the Ball, Humphries, Hope, and Cross Families by Nadeen Cross Marlett.
  • That Humphrey Family and Others by Donna Humphrey Metzger.
  • Fundy Family (also Humphrey) by William Henry Irving.

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: L'homme vrai aime son pays
Motto Translation: The true man loves his country.


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  1. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  2. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  3. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  4. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  5. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  6. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  7. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  8. Thirsk, Joan ed. Et. Al. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  9. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  10. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  11. ...

The Humphrey Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Humphrey Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 16 October 2014 at 11:09.

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