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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016

Origins Available: French, Irish, Welsh

The ancestors of the bearers of the Hughes surname were Welsh Brythonic- Celts. However, their name came to Britain with the Norman invasion; Hughes 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, France and established the first Carthusian monastery in England; as well as St. Hugh of Cluny (1024-1109).


The surname Hughes 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, where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.

There are relatively few surnames native to Wales, but they have an inordinately large number of spelling variations. Early variations of Welsh surnames can be explained by the fact that very few people in the early Middle Ages were literate. Priests and the few other literate people were responsible for recording names in official documents. And because most people could not specific how to properly record their names it was up to the individual recorder of that time to determine how a spoken name should be recorded. Variations due to the imprecise or improper recording of a name continued later in history when names originally composed in the Brythonic Celtic, language of Wales, known by natives as Cymraeg, were transliterated into English. Welsh names that were documented in English often changed dramatically since the native language of Wales, which was highly inflected, did not copy well. Occasionally, however, spelling variations were carried out according to an individual's specific design: a branch loyalty within the family, a religious adherence, or even patriotic affiliations could be indicated by minor variations. The spelling variations of the name Hughes have included Hughes, Hugh, Hews, Hughs, Hues, Huse and others.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Hughes research. Another 211 words (15 lines of text) covering the years 1038, 1553, 1632, 1603, 1667, 1604, 1664, 1654, 1659, 1645, 1719, 1677 and 1720 are included under the topic Early Hughes History in all our PDF Extended History products.


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


Some of the Hughes family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 109 words (8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


Many Welsh families joined their Scottish and Irish neighbors during the late 1800s and early 1900s in seeking refuge in North America. Like the Irish and Scottish, many Welsh anxiously awaited the work, freedom, and opportunities that they believed lay in North America. Those who did journey over to the United States and what became known as Canada often realized those dreams, but only through much toil and perseverance. Whenever and however these Welsh immigrants arrived in North America, they were instrumental in the creation of the industry, commerce, and cultural heritage within those two developing nations. In the immigration and passenger lists a number of early immigrants bearing the name Hughes were found:

Hughes Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Richard Hughes settled in Virginia in 1634
  • Joshua Hughes, who landed in Roxbury, Massachusetts in 1634
  • Lewes Hughes, aged 19, landed in Barbados in 1635
  • Griffith Hughes, aged 24, landed in Virginia in 1635
  • Jo Hughes, aged 30, arrived in Virginia in 1635

Hughes Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Valentine Hughes, who arrived in Virginia in 1703
  • Richard Hughes settled in Georgia with his wife and five sons in 1733
  • Joseph Hughes, who landed in Georgia in 1738
  • Lucy Hughes, who arrived in Maryland in 1740
  • Thomas Hughes settled in Georgia in 1744

Hughes Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Andrew Hughes, aged 35, landed in New Castle or Philadelphia in 1805
  • Jane Hughes, who landed in America in 1805
  • Lawrence Hughes, who landed in America in 1809
  • Jas Hughes, who landed in New Jersey in 1811
  • Herman Hughes, aged 30, landed in New York in 1812

Hughes Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • Henry P Hughes, who landed in Arkansas in 1900

Hughes Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • Stephen Hughes, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1749
  • Heny Hughes, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1749
  • Mr. Charles Hughes U.E. who arrived at Port Roseway [Shelburne], Nova Scotia on October 26, 1783 was passenger number 214 aboard the ship "HMS Clinton", picked up on September 28, 1783 at Staten Island, New York
  • Mr. James Hughes U.E. who settled in Marysburgh [Prince Edward County], Ontario c. 1784
  • Mr. John Hughes U.E. who settled in Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1784

Hughes Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Matthew Hughes, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1821
  • Ellis Hughes, who arrived in Canada in 1828
  • Joel Hughes, who arrived in Canada in 1831
  • John Hughes, aged 30, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Edward Reid" in 1833
  • Ellen Hughes, aged 30, a widow, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1833 aboard the brig "Dorcas Savage" from Belfast

Hughes Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Charles Hughes, English convict from Lancaster, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on July 29th, 1823, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia
  • Richard Hughes, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on October 22nd, 1824, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • Thomas Hughes, English convict from Wiltshire, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on October 22nd, 1824, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • James Hughes, a butcher, arrived in New South Wales, Australia sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • James Hughes, a sawyer, arrived in Van Diemenís Land (now Tasmania) sometime between 1825 and 1832

Hughes Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • John Hughes landed in Moriaki, New Zealand in 1840
  • Stephen Edward Hughes landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1840
  • Thomas Hughes landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1841
  • William Hughes arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Whitby" in 1841
  • Thomas Hughes, aged 34, a surgeon, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Clifford" in 1842


  • Rex Hughes (1938-2016), American college and NBA basketball coach for the Sacramento Kings
  • Charles E Hughes (1862-1948), American politician, Governor of New York state and later American Secretary of State to Warren G. Harding
  • Thomas P. Hughes (1923-2014), American Historian of Technology
  • Keith Hughes (1968-2014), American NBA basketball player
  • Major-General John Hendricken Hughes (1876-1953), American Member of the Secretary of War's Personnel Board (1942-1945)
  • Major-General Everett Strait Hughes (1885-1957), American Chief of Ordnance (1946-1949)
  • Hatcher Hughes (1881-1945), American playwright awarded the 1924 Pulitzer Prize for Drama
  • Lisa Bobbie Schreiber Hughes (b. 1958), American politician, U.S. Ambassador to Suriname, 2006-
  • Howard Robard Hughes (1905-1976), pioneering American aviator, engineer, industrialist, and film producer. He was widely known as a playboy and one of the wealthiest people in the world
  • Barnard Aloysius Kiernan Hughes (1915-2006), American actor of theater and film



  • The Families of Benjamin (1816-1903) [and] Margaret Evans (1825-1879) Hughes and Evan (1808-1877) [and] Jane Davies (1817-1858) James by David Wendell Hughes.
  • Genealogy of Chadwick, King, and Allied Families: McKee, Callahan, Hughs/Hughes, Mock, Roberts, Langston by Darline Chadwick Smith.

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.


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  1. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  2. Thirsk, Joan ed. Et. Al. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  3. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  4. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  5. Burke, Sir Bernard. Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry: Including American Families with British Ancestry. (2 Volumes). London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  6. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  7. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  8. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  9. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  10. Morgan, T. J. Morgan and Prys Morgan. Welsh Surnames. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1985. Print.
  11. ...

The Hughes Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Hughes 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 19 May 2016 at 12:21.

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