Show ContentsHereford History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Hereford is a name that came to England in the 11th century wave of migration that was set off by the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Hereford family lived in Herefordshire, which is in west central England, between Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, Shropshire and Wales. The county is known for its moderate climate, rich soil, and ancient castles. Hereford is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word Hereford which means "the Military Ford" and the Old English "here, army + ford." [1]

Early Origins of the Hereford family

The surname Hereford was first found in Herefordshire where Ilbert de Hertford, de Hereforda was listed in the Domesday Book of 1086. [2] Later, Walter de Hereford was listed in the Pipe Rolls for Wales in 1158 and Richard de Herfordia was a Knights Templar in 1185. [3]

"The Herefords of Sufton Court, co. Hereford, claim from Boger de Hereford, a famous philosopher of the XII. century. The town and county of Hertford are so pronounced, but there is a parish of Harford in Devonshire with which however the family do not appear to have been connected. According to Burke, "the cunabula (earliest) gent was in Bosbury, co. Hereford, in the church of which parish there are several ancient monuments of the family." [4]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 included entries for: Warin de Hereford, Cambridgeshire; Roger de Herford, Huntingdonshire; and Walter de Herford, Cambridgeshire. [5] In Somerset, early rolls listed Margery Herford and John de Hareford, 1 Edward III (during the first year of the reign of King Edward III) [6]

Early History of the Hereford family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Hereford research. Another 98 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 176 and 1766 are included under the topic Early Hereford History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Hereford Spelling Variations

Spelling variations in names were a common occurrence in the eras before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago. In the Middle Ages, even the literate regularly changed the spellings of their names as the English language incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other European languages. Many variations of the name Hereford have been found, including Hereford, Herford, Herreford and others.

Early Notables of the Hereford family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Hereford Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Hereford Ranking

In the United States, the name Hereford is the 7,403rd most popular surname with an estimated 4,974 people with that name. [7]

United States Hereford migration to the United States +

For many English families, the social climate in England was oppressive and lacked opportunity for change. For such families, the shores of Ireland, Australia, and the New World beckoned. They left their homeland at great expense in ships that were overcrowded and full of disease. Many arrived after the long voyage sick, starving, and without a penny. But even those were greeted with greater opportunity than they could have experienced back home. Numerous English settlers who arrived in the United States and Canada at this time went on to make important contributions to the developing cultures of those countries. Many of those families went on to make significant contributions to the rapidly developing colonies in which they settled. Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name Hereford were among those contributors:

Hereford Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Peter Hereford, who settled in Virginia in 1623

Contemporary Notables of the name Hereford (post 1700) +

  • Frank Loucks Hereford Jr. (1923-2004), American academic from Lake Charles, Louisiana, President of the University of Virginia from 1974 to 1985
  • Frank Hereford (1825-1891), American politician, United States Representative and Senator from West Virginia (1877-1881)
  • Paul Hereford Oliver MBE (1927-2017), British architectural historian and writer

  1. Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  2. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  3. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  4. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  5. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  6. Dickinson, F.H., Kirby's Quest for Somerset of 16th of Edward the 3rd London: Harrison and Sons, Printers in Ordinary to Her Majesty, St, Martin's Lane, 1889. Print.
  7. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?"., on Facebook