Humfrey History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Humfrey surname comes from the Old French personal name Humfrey, a cognate of the Old German names Hunfrid and Humfrid. This name was originally derived from the Germanic elements "hun," which means "bear cub," and "frid" or "fred," which mean "peace." It was borne by a 9th century saint and Bishop of Therouanne, who was popular among Norman settlers of England. [1]

Early Origins of the Humfrey family

The surname Humfrey was first found in the Domesday Book of 1086, where early Latin forms of the name were first used: Hunfridus, Humfridus. [2]

Many records at this time were a mixture of Latin and Old English. Humfridus was recorded in Suffolk in 1186-1188, but by the 13th century records were often in English, as seen by William Humfrey, who was recorded in Bedfordshire in 1240. William Humfray, Umfrey was found in the Assize Rolls for Staffordshire in 1293 and a few years later, Roger Houmfrey was recorded in 1311. [3]

The name is "rarely found north of a line drawn from the Wash to the Dee. Humphrey is confined to the eastern half of the area, in Berks, Norfolk, Surrey, Sussex, etc. Humphreys characterizes the western half, being most numerous in North Wales, and after that in Shropshire, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, etc. Both are rare or absent in the four south-western counties." [4]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 had mixed entries for name as a forename and a surname in a wide variety of spellings: John Hunfray, Oxfordshire; Henry filius Umfridi, Oxfordshire; Peter Umfry, Oxfordshire; Umfrey le Gerische, Oxfordshire; and Richard Humfrey, Oxfordshire. [5]

Early History of the Humfrey family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Humfrey research. Another 87 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1069, 1391, 1447, 1714, 1579, 1647, 1674, 1621, 1719, 1662, 1648, 1712, 1701, 1712, 1735 and are included under the topic Early Humfrey History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Humfrey Spelling Variations

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 Humfrey have included Humphreys, Homfray, Humfrey, Humfrie, Humfries, Humfreys, Humphereys, Humphries, Humphrays, Humphray, Humphrey, Humphris, Humphry, Humphryes and many more.

Early Notables of the Humfrey family (pre 1700)

Prominent amongst the family during the late Middle Ages was Humphrey (1391-1447), the son of King Henry IV, who was Duke of Gloucester and Earl of Pembroke, and also a patron of letters; Sir William Humphreys, Lord Mayor of London in 1714; William Humfrey (died 1579) English goldsmith and Assay Master to...
Another 52 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Humfrey Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Humfrey family to Ireland

Some of the Humfrey family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 57 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Humfrey migration to the United States +

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 Humfrey were found:

Humfrey Settlers in United States in the 16th Century
  • Richard Humfrey, who was one of the settlers left at Roanoke, Virginia in 1584 by Sir Walter Raleigh
Humfrey Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Humfrey, who was on record in Massachusetts in 1629
  • John Humfrey, who landed in Massachusetts in 1632 [6]
  • Joe Humfrey, who settled in Virginia in 1635
  • Jo Humfrey, aged 20, who arrived in Barbados in 1635 [6]
Humfrey Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Richard Humfrey, who arrived in Virginia in 1884 [6]
  • Thomas Humfrey, who landed in Virginia in 1887 [6]

Contemporary Notables of the name Humfrey (post 1700) +

  • Cornelius Humfrey, American politician, Member of New York State Assembly, 1781-85, 1799-1801, 1805-07; Member of New York State Senate Middle District, 1786-89 [7]
  • William Humfrey (d. 1579), English goldsmith and Assay Master to Queen Elizabeth I of England
  • Pelham Humfrey (1647-1674), English composer at the beginning of the Restoration
  • Humfrey Jonathon Malins CBE (b. 1945), British Conservative Party politician, Member of Parliament for Woking (1997-2010)


The Humfrey 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: L'homme vrai aime son pays
Motto Translation: The true man loves his country.


  1. ^ Dixon, Bernard Homer, Surnames. London: John Wilson and son, 1857. 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. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. 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. ^ 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)
  7. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 5) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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