Humphreys History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Humphreys 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 Humphreys family

The surname Humphreys 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 Humphreys family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Humphreys 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 Humphreys History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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

Early Notables of the Humphreys 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 Humphreys Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Humphreys family to Ireland

Some of the Humphreys 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 Humphreys 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 Humphreys were found:

Humphreys Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Michael Humphreys, who arrived in Connecticut in 1642 [6]
  • Susan Humphreys, who settled in Barbados in 1654
  • Humphrey Humphreys, who landed in Maryland in 1660 [6]
  • Mary Humphreys, who arrived in Maryland in 1660 [6]
  • Stephen Humphreys, who arrived in Maryland in 1663 [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Humphreys Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • George Humphreys, who landed in Virginia in 1735 [6]
  • Gislin Humphreys, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1773 [6]
  • Joel Humphreys, who landed in Mississippi in 1798 [6]
Humphreys Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Philip Humphreys, who landed in Jamaica in 1803 [6]
  • Joseph Humphreys, aged 26, who arrived in New York in 1812 [6]
  • Park Humphreys, aged 30, who arrived in Delaware in 1812 [6]
  • Francis Humphreys, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1816 [6]
  • Charles Humphreys, who landed in America in 1817 [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Humphreys migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Humphreys Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • John Humphreys, who arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1749-1752
  • Mr. Nicholas Humphreys U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1784 [7]
  • Mr. Nicholas Humphreys MD, U.E. who settled in Sugar Island, Kingsclear, New Brunswick c. 1784 he was a surgeon with New Jersey Volunteers [7]
  • Mr. William Humphreys U.E. who settled in New Brunswick c. 1784 member of the Cape Ann Association [7]
Humphreys Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Mrs. Eliza Humphreys, aged 24 who immigrated to Canada, arriving at the Grosse Isle Quarantine Station in Quebec aboard the ship "Lord Seaton" departing from the port of Belfast, Ireland but died on Grosse Isle on 29th June 1847 [8]
  • Miss. Mary Ann Humphreys, aged 1 year & 3 months who immigrated to Canada, arriving at the Grosse Isle Quarantine Station in Quebec aboard the ship "Lord Seaton" departing from the port of Belfast, Ireland but died on Grosse Isle on 19th June 1847 [8]

Australia Humphreys migration to Australia +

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

Humphreys Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Francis Humphreys who was convicted in Shropshire, England for life for stealing, transported aboard the "Bengal Merchant" on 4th August 1836, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, he died in 1874 [9]
  • Mr. Thomas Humphreys who was convicted in Shropshire, England for life for stealing, transported aboard the "Bengal Merchant" on 4th August 1836, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [9]
  • Mr. William Humphreys, (b. 1824), aged 20, English convict who was convicted in Bath, Somerset, England for 10 years for stealing, transported aboard the "Barossa" on 9th May 1844, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [10]
  • Charles Thomas Humphreys, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Hooghly" in 1848 [11]
  • Thomas Humphreys, English convict from Somerset, who was transported aboard the "Adelaide" on August 08, 1849, settling in Van Diemen's Land and Port Phillip, Australia [12]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Humphreys 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:

Humphreys Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Edwin Humphreys, aged 45, a carpenter, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Sir Charles Forbes" in 1842
  • Mary Humphreys, aged 43, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Sir Charles Forbes" in 1842
  • Mary Humphreys, aged 17, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Sir Charles Forbes" in 1842
  • George Humphreys, aged 15, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Sir Charles Forbes" in 1842
  • Henry Humphreys, aged 13, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Sir Charles Forbes" in 1842
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Humphreys (post 1700) +

  • Karen Patricia Moe Humphreys (b. 1953), née Moe, American gold medalist swimmer at the 1972 Summer Olympics
  • Joshua Humphreys (1751-1838), American ship builder, eponym of the USS Humphreys (DD-236)
  • West Hughes Humphreys (1806-1882), American and Confederate Judge, prohibitionist
  • Benjamin G. Humphreys (1808-1882), American politician and Confederate Army general
  • Josephine Humphreys (b. 1945), American novelist
  • Andrew A. Humphreys (1810-1883), U.S. Army officer and Union general
  • Emyr Humphreys (1919-2020), Welsh novelist, poet, and author from Prestatyn, Wales
  • Jonathan Matthews Humphreys (b. 1969), former international Wales rugby union player who played for the Wales National Team (1995-2003)
  • Benjamin Charles Humphreys AM (1934-2019), Australian politician, Minister for Veterans' Affairs (1987-1993), Member of the Australian Parliament for Griffith (1977-1996)
  • Mr. David Raymond Humphreys B.E.M., British recipient of the British Empire Medal on 8th June 2018, for services to Education and to Geology [13]
  • ... (Another 7 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Empress of Ireland
  • Mr. William Humphreys (1879-1914), Canadian Second Class Passenger from Toronto, Ontario, Canada who was traveling aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking [14]
HMS Hood
  • Mr. William Humphreys (b. 1921), English Marine serving for the Royal Marine from Collyhurst, Manchester, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [15]
HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. Leslie Humphreys, British Stoker, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [16]
RMS Lusitania
  • Mr. Henry St. Giles Humphreys, American 2nd Class passenger from Los Angeles, California, USA, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking [17]
RMS Titanic
  • Mr. Thomas Humphrey Humphreys (d. 1912), aged 31, English Assistant Saloon Steward from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking [18]
  • Mr. Sidney James Humphreys, aged 48, English Quartermaster from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and survived the sinking escaping on life boat 11 [18]


The Humphreys 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. ^ 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
  8. ^ Charbonneau, André, and Doris Drolet-Dubé. A Register of Deceased Persons at Sea and on Grosse Île in 1847. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, 1997. ISBN: 0-660-198/1-1997E (p. 35)
  9. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 7th October 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/bengal-merchant
  10. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 24th September 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/barossa
  11. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) HOOGHLY 1848. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1848Hooghly.htm
  12. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2014, November 17) Adelaide voyage to Van Diemen's Land and Port Phillip, Australia in 1849 with 303 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/adelaide/1849
  13. ^ "Birthday and New Year Honours Lists (1940 to 2019)." Issue 62310, 31 October 2019 | London Gazette, The Gazette, June 2018, https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/62310/supplement/B1
  14. ^ Commemoration Empress of Ireland 2014. (Retrieved 2014, June 17) . Retrieved from http://www.empress2014.ca/seclangen/listepsc1.html
  15. ^ H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from http://www.hmshood.com/crew/memorial/roh_24may41.htm
  16. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html
  17. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 6) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/
  18. ^ Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from http://www.titanicfacts.net/titanic-passenger-list.html


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