Show ContentsHugh History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the bearers of the Hugh surname were Welsh Brythonic-Celts. However, their name came to Britain with the Norman invasion; Hugh is derived from the Old French personal name Hughe, also spelled Hue. This name was made popular by the exploits of several saints including: St. Hugh of Lincoln (1140-1200), who was born in Burgundy (French: Bourgogne) and established the first Carthusian monastery in England; as well as St. Hugh of Cluny (1024-1109).

Hugh (d. 1094), called of Grantmesnil, or Grentemaisnil, was Baron and Sheriff of Leicestershire, son of Robert of Grantmesnil, in the arrondissement of Lisieux. [1]

Hugh (d. 1098), called of Montgomery, Earl of Shrewsbury and Arundel, second son of Roger of Montgomery, held during his father's lifetime the manor of Worfield in Shropshire. [1]

Early Origins of the Hugh family

The surname Hugh was first found in Carmarthenshire (Welsh: Sir Gaerfyrddin), located in Southwest Wales, one of thirteen historic counties and presently one of the principal area in Wales.

Early rolls provide us a glimpse of the spelling variations used at that time. By example, Hugo was listed in the Domesday Book of 1086; Willelmus filius Hugonis was found in Wiltshire in 1084 and Reginaldus le fiz Hugonis was in the Pipe Rolls of Leicestershire from 1195. [2]

Early History of the Hugh family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Hugh research. Another 106 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1038, 1518, 1613, 1545, 1553, 1632, 1603, 1667, 1604, 1664, 1654, 1659, 1645, 1719, 1677, 1720 and are included under the topic Early Hugh History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Hugh Spelling Variations

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 Hugh has occasionally been spelled Hughes, Hugh, Hews, Hughs, Hues, Huse and others.

Early Notables of the Hugh family (pre 1700)

Prominent amongst the family during the late Middle Ages was Owen ap Hugh (1518-1613), of Bodeon, near Llangadwaladr, Anglesey, a Welsh politician, Member of the Parliament for Newborough in 1545; Robert Hues (1553-1632), an English mathematician and geographer; George Hughes (1603-1667), an English Puritan clergyman and writer; Thomas Hughes (1604-1664), a Welsh politician who sat in the House of Commons in 1654...
Another 62 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Hugh Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Hugh Ranking

In the United States, the name Hugh is the 14,590th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [3]

Ireland Migration of the Hugh family to Ireland

Some of the Hugh family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 84 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Hugh migration to the United States +

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 Hugh

Hugh Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Mabby Hugh, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1682 [4]
  • Mably Hugh, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1682 [4]
  • John Hugh, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1684 [4]
  • David Hugh, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1693 [4]
  • Robert Hugh, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1693 [4]
Hugh Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Mary Hugh, who landed in Virginia in 1704 [4]
  • Rudulph Hugh, aged 25, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1736 [4]
Hugh Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Simeon Hugh, aged 26, who landed in New Jersey in 1812 [4]
  • Michael Hugh, aged 27, who arrived in New York in 1812 [4]
  • John M Hugh, who landed in Tippecanoe County, Ind in 1843 [4]
  • Martha Hugh, aged 16, who arrived in New York, NY in 1850 [4]
  • Austin Hugh, who landed in Mobile, Ala in 1876 [4]
Hugh Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Miss Evangeline Hugh, (b. 1879), aged 24, Cornish settler from Ladock, Cornwall, UK travelling aboard the ship "Ivernia" arriving at Ellis Island, New York on 6th May 1903 en route to Ironwood, Michigan, USA [5]
  • Mr. Lewis Arthur Hugh, (b. 1884), aged 21, Cornish miner travelling aboard the ship "St Paul" arriving at Ellis Island, New York in 1905 en route to Ontonagon, Michigan, USA [5]

Canada Hugh migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Hugh Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. Nicholas Hugh U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1784 [6]

Australia Hugh migration to Australia +

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

Hugh Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Hugh Mchardie, (Mchardy), (b. 1810), aged 24, Scottish plumber who was convicted in Glasgow, Scotland for life for assault, transported aboard the "Bengal Merchant" on 27th September 1834, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, he died in 1837 [7]
  • Michael Hugh a labourer, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Navarino" in 1837 [8]
  • Mr. Hugh Kennedy, Scottish convict who was convicted in Glasgow, Scotland for 7 years, transported aboard the "Barossa" on 27th August 1841, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [9]
  • Mr. Hugh Bannister, (Banister), (b. 1800), aged 44, English seaman who was convicted in Exeter, Devon, England for 7 years for stealing, transported aboard the "Barossa" on 9th May 1844, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land), he died in 1845 [9]
  • Thomas Hugh, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Cressy" in 1847 [10]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Hugh 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:

Hugh Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • John Hugh, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Bombay" in 1863 [11]

Contemporary Notables of the name Hugh (post 1700) +

  • Dafydd ab Hugh (b. 1960), born David Friedman, an American science fiction author
  • Lloyd N. Hugh, American Democratic Party politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania 19th District, 1946 [12]
  • Edward Hugh (1948-2015), Welsh economist
  • Lensley Hugh Wolfe (1937-2023), Jamaican jurist, Chief Justice of Jamaica from 1996 to 2007
  • Peter Hugh Dennis II (b. 1962), English actor, comedian, writer, impressionist and voice-over artist
  • Richard Hugh Tilly (1932-2023), American economic historian
  • George Hugh Boscawen DL (b. 1919), 9th Viscount Falmouth, a British peer and landowner, Member of the House of Lords Lord Temporal (1962-1999)
  • Tom Hugh Morey (1935-2021), also known by the moniker "Y", American musician, engineer, surfboard shaper, and surfer
  • Derek Hugh Goodrich (1927-2021), Anglican priest, Dean of St George's Cathedral, Georgetown, Guyana, from 1984 to 1993
  • Waller Hugh Paton (1828-1895), Scottish landscape-painter born in Wooers-Alley, Dunfermline, the first Scottish artist who painted a picture throughout in the open air; some of his works can still be seen in the National Gallery, Edinburgh

The Hugh Motto +

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: Kymmer-yn Lydeirnon
Motto Translation: Name of the lordship of the family.

  1. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  2. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  4. 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)
  5. Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from
  6. 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
  7. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 7th October 2020). Retrieved from
  8. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) NAVARINO 1837. Retrieved from
  9. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 24th September 2020). Retrieved from
  10. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) CRESSY 1847. Retrieved from
  11. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 7th November 2010). Retrieved from
  12. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 19) . Retrieved from on Facebook