Show ContentsHumber History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Humber arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Humber family lived in Humber, Herefordshire, from where they took their name. The place-name Humber indicates the proximity of the settlement to a river bearing the same name. It was a common prehistoric name for rivers and is of uncertain meaning.

Early Origins of the Humber family

The surname Humber was first found in Herefordshire in the west country of England where they held a family seat as Lords of the manor of Humber from ancient times. Humber, an ancient English hamlet in the union of Leominster, hundred of Wolphy, dating back to the Iron Age, was granted by Duke William of Normandy in 1066 to Roger de Lacy, a Norman noble from whom the family name Humber is conjecturally descended. The Humber is a large tidal estuary on the east coast of Northern England.

Early feudal rolls provided the king of the time a method of cataloguing holdings for taxation, but today they provide a glimpse into the wide surname spellings in use at that time. John de Hwnbre was listed in Warwickshire in 1305 and John Humbre was found in Cheshire in 1392. [1]

Early History of the Humber family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Humber research. Another 126 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 160 and 1604 are included under the topic Early Humber History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Humber Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names tend to be marked by an enormous number of spelling variations. This is largely due to the fact that Old and Middle English lacked any spelling rules when Norman French was introduced in the 11th century. The languages of the English courts at that time were French and Latin. These various languages mixed quite freely in the evolving social milieu. The final element of this mix is that medieval scribes spelled words according to their sounds rather than any definite rules, so a name was often spelled in as many different ways as the number of documents it appeared in. The name was spelled Humber, Humbar, Humbor, Umber, Umbar, Umbor, Humbere, Humbore, Humbare, Humberston, Humbertson, Humberstone, Humberton, Humbertown, Humberstown, Humbletown, Humbleston, Humblestown and many more.

Early Notables of the Humber family (pre 1700)

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

Humber Ranking

In Newfoundland, Canada, the name Humber is the 476th most popular surname with an estimated 99 people with that name. [2]

United States Humber migration to the United States +

Because of the political and religious discontent in England, families began to migrate abroad in enormous numbers. Faced with persecution and starvation at home, the open frontiers and generally less oppressive social environment of the New World seemed tantalizing indeed to many English people. The trip was difficult, and not all made it unscathed, but many of those who did get to Canada and the United States made important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers with Humber name or one of its variants:

Humber Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Dorothy Humber, who arrived in Maryland in 1654 [3]
  • Danll Humber, who arrived in Virginia in 1663 [3]
Humber Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • David Pierre Humber, who landed in South Carolina in 1743 [3]
  • Jacob Humber, who settled in Maryland in 1762
Humber Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Edmund Humber, who settled in New York city in 1823 at the age of 32
  • Bernard H. Humber, aged 24, who arrived in America from Nottingham, in 1898
Humber Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Henry Monias Humber, aged 44, who arrived in America from London, England, in 1905
  • John Humber, aged 9, who arrived in America from Glasgow, Scotland, in 1907
  • May Humber, aged 25, who arrived in America from Scotland, in 1907
  • Wm. Delsney Humber, aged 42, who arrived in America, in 1908
  • Sybil Humber, aged 7, who arrived in America from Kingston, Jamaica, in 1909
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Humber migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Humber Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

New Zealand Humber 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:

Humber Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Richard Humber, aged 20, a farm labourer, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Oliver Lang" in 1856
  • Robert Humber, aged 19, a farm labourer, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Oliver Lang" in 1856

Contemporary Notables of the name Humber (post 1700) +

  • Philip Gregory Humber (b. 1982), American Major League Baseball pitcher for the Oakland Athletics
  • Robert Lee Humber, celebrated lawyer of Greenvile, North Carolina and founder of the NC Museum of Art in Raleigh, NC
  • Robert Lee Humber (1898-1970), American Democratic Party politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from North Carolina, 1956; Member of North Carolina State Senate 5th District, 1959-64 [5]
  • Ms. Jean Anne Humber B.E.M., British recipient of Medallist of the British Empire Medal 29th December 2018 for services to the community in West Somerset [6]
  • Thomas Humber (1841-1910), British cycle manufacturer who founded the Humber Motorcycles in 1868 and the Humber Bicycle company in 1869

HMS Royal Oak
  • John Francis Humber (1923-1939), British Boy 1st Class with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak (1939) when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he died in the sinking [7]

  1. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. The order of Common Surnames in 1955 in Newfoundland retrieved on 20th October 2021 (retrieved from Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland by E.R. Seary corrected edition ISBN 0-7735-1782-0)
  3. 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)
  4. Seary E.R., Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland, Montreal: McGill's-Queen's Universtity Press 1998 ISBN 0-7735-1782-0
  5. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 10) . Retrieved from
  6. "Birthday and New Year Honours Lists (1940 to 2019)." Issue 62507, 28 December 2018 | London Gazette, The Gazette, Dec. 2018,
  7. Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from on Facebook