Show ContentsChew History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Chew reached England in the great wave of migration following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Chew family lived in Somerset. The family was originally from the area of Cheux, near Carne, Normandy. Alternatively, the name could have been from Eu in Normandy, commonly called la Ville d'Eu. 1

Early Origins of the Chew family

The surname Chew was first found in Somerset, at Chew Magna, a parish, and anciently a borough and market-town, in the union of Clutton, hundred of Chew or at Chew-Stoke, a parish, in the union of Clutton, hundred of Chew. 2

Chew Magna dates back to 1065, when it was known as Ciw and later in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Chiwe. It is named after the River Chew, which is a Celtic river name, with the affix from the Latin "magna" meaning "great." 3

Chew Stoke recorded in the Domesday Book as Stoche, means "secondary settlement belonging to Chew. 3

Randal de Chiw, was the first record of the family found listed in the Assize Rolls of Somerset in 1201. A couple of years later, Geoffrey Chiue was listed in the Curia Regis Rolls for Cambridgeshire in 1203. 4

"The name of Chew has its present home in the Oundle district [of Northamptonshire]. The Chews of Dunstable, in the neighbouring county of Bedfordshire, were a notable family in the 17th century; some of them, who attained high position as London merchants, preferred to be buried in the town of their birth. One of the family was sheriff of Bedfordshire." 5

"It has ramified strongly in America. John Chew settled in Virginia as early as 1634 (see Hotten's Lists of Emigrants.) " 6

Early History of the Chew family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Chew research. Another 155 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1623, 1744, 1766, 1790, 1798, 1810 and 1878 are included under the topic Early Chew History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Chew Spelling Variations

Before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Sound was what guided spelling in the Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Chew family name include Chew, Chewe, Chewning, Chue and others.

Early Notables of the Chew family

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was

  • Samuel Chew (d. 1744), a chief justice of colonial Delaware, writer, and Quaker, John Chewning (d. 1798), the captain of the dragoons in the Continental Army during the American Revolution, and Mary M...

Chew Ranking

In the United States, the name Chew is the 4,674th most popular surname with an estimated 7,461 people with that name. 7

United States Chew migration to the United States +

To escape the political and religious chaos of this era, thousands of English families began to migrate to the New World in search of land and freedom from religious and political persecution. The passage was expensive and the ships were dark, crowded, and unsafe; however, those who made the voyage safely were encountered opportunities that were not available to them in their homeland. Many of the families that reached the New World at this time went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of the United States and Canada. Research into various historical records has revealed some of first members of the Chew family to immigrate North America:

Chew Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Chew, who arrived in Virginia aboard the ship "Charity" in 1622 8
  • Mrs. Sarah Chew, who settled in Virginia in 1623 aboard the ship "Sea Flower"
  • Sarah Chew, who landed in Virginia in 1624-1625 8
  • Samuel Chew, who arrived in Maryland in 1659 8
  • Robert Chew, who settled in Virginia in 1663
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Chew Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Hannah Chew, who immigrated to Maryland in 1720
  • Benjamin Chew, who was naturalized in Pennsylvania in 1777
Chew Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Richard Chew, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1838 8
  • A V Chew, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850 8
  • Phoebe Chew, who sailed to New York in 1864
  • Maria Chew, aged 5, who landed in New York in 1864 8
  • Phoebe Chew, aged 30, who arrived in New York in 1864 8

Canada Chew migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Chew Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. Joseph Chew U.E. who settled in Carleton [Saint John City], New Brunswick c. 1783 9
  • Mr. Johnson W. Chew U.E. who settled in Home District, [Niagara], Lincoln County, Ontario c. 1783 9
  • Lt. William Chew U.E. who settled in Fredericton, New Brunswick c. 1783 he served in the King's New Brunswick Regiment 9

Australia Chew migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Chew Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Chew, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Phoebe" in 1846 10
  • William Chew, aged 22, a painter, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Lord of the Isles" 11
  • Joseph Chew, aged 55, a painter, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Lord of the Isles" 11
  • Joseph Chew, aged 27, a painter, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Lord of the Isles" 11
  • John Chew, aged 24, a painter, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Lord of the Isles" 11
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Chew migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Chew Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Edward Chew, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • John Chew, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Oliver Lang" in 1858
  • A. Chew, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "William Carey" in 1863
  • F. Chew, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Donna Anita" arriving in Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand on 14th June 1863 12

Contemporary Notables of the name Chew (post 1700) +

  • Scott Chew, American politician for Utah
  • Hans Chew (b. 1975), American pianist originally from Chattanooga, Tennessee
  • Charles Chew Jr. (1922-1986), American politician in Illinois
  • Beverly Chew (1773-1851), American merchant and diplomat
  • Henry Franklin Chew (1837-1918), American colonel during the American Civil War
  • Sam Chew Jr. (b. 1942), is a retired American actor and teacher
  • Richard Franklin Chew (b. 1940), American film editor, best known for his Academy Award-winning work on Star Wars (1977)
  • Geoffrey F. Chew (1924-2019), American theoretical physicist, Professor of physics at the Berkeley since 1957
  • Susan Beatrice Chew (1958-2024), American politician for the state of Idaho
  • Robert F. Chew (1966-2013), American actor, known for his starring role in the HBO television drama series The Wire
  • ... (Another 7 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. Joseph Bernard Chew, British Lead Air Mechanician, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales (1941) and survived the sinking 13

Suggested Readings for the name Chew +

  • Genealogy of the Chew Family by Robert L. Chew.

  1. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  3. Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  4. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  5. Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  6. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  7. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  8. Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  9. Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  10. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) PHEOBE/PHOEBE 1845. Retrieved from
  11. South Australian Register Monday 14th August 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Lord of the Isles 1854. Retrieved
  12. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from
  13. HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from on Facebook