Humphrys History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Humphrys 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 Humphrys family

The surname Humphrys 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 Humphrys family

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

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

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

Ireland Migration of the Humphrys family to Ireland

Some of the Humphrys 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 Humphrys migration to the United States +

North America in the 1800s and 1900s saw the arrival of many Welsh people hoping to share in the wealth of land, work, and freedom that they felt North America held. Those who made the journey often attained those expectations, but only through an enormous amount of hard work, perseverance, and often a bout of good luck. These immigrants helped contribute to the growth of industry, commerce, and culture of both Canada and the United States. Discovered in the immigration and passenger lists were a number of people bearing the name Humphrys:

Humphrys Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Peter Humphrys, who settled in Virginia in 1663
  • Katherine Humphrys, who landed in Maryland in 1676 [6]
  • Thomas Humphrys, who arrived in Maryland in 1676 [6]
  • Richard Humphrys, aged 21, who landed in Maryland in 1684 [6]
  • Cath Humphrys, who landed in Virginia in 1695 [6]
Humphrys Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Joan Humphrys, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1707-1708 [6]
  • John Humphrys, who landed in Virginia in 1725 [6]
  • William Humphrys, who arrived in Antigua (Antego) in 1780 [6]
Humphrys Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Joseph Humphrys, aged 26, who arrived in New York in 1812 [6]

Canada Humphrys migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Humphrys Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mary Humphrys, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Thomas Humphrys, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
Humphrys Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Humphrys, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Eleanor" in 1834
  • Margaret Humphrys, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Eleanor" in 1834
  • Robert Humphrys, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Eleanor" in 1834
  • Anthony Humphrys, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Eleanor" in 1834
  • Russey Humphrys, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Eleanor" in 1834

Australia Humphrys migration to Australia +

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

Humphrys Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • William Humphrys, English convict from Bristol, who was transported aboard the "Albion" on May 29, 1828, settling in New South Wales, Australia [7]
  • James Humphrys, aged 20, a farm labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1850 aboard the ship "Joseph Soames" [8]
  • James Humphrys, aged 20, a labourer, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Joseph Somes" in 1850 [9]
  • Anne Humphrys, aged 18, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Joseph Somes" in 1850 [9]
  • John Humphry's, aged 28, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Lady Macdonald" [10]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Humphrys 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:

Humphrys Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Sarah Humphrys, aged 13, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Woodlark" in 1874

Contemporary Notables of the name Humphrys (post 1700) +

  • George Robert Humphrys (1952-2008), Welsh broadcaster and sports presenter on BBC Wales
  • Gary John Humphrys (b. 1951), Australian businessman and company director, Chairman of the Board of the SEQ Water Grid Manager
  • William Humphrys (1794-1865), Irish engraver of pictures, book illustrations and postage stamps
  • Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Francis Humphrys GCMG GCVO KBE CIE (1879-1971), British cricketer, colonial administrator and diplomat
  • Fletcher Humphrys (b. 1976), Australian actor, best known for his roles as Brett 'Brick' Buchanon in McLeod's Daughters
  • Desmond John Humphrys (b. 1943), British author, journalist and presenter of radio and television, Host of Mastermind (2003 –)
  • William Humphrys Archdall (1813-1899), Irish Conservative politician, Member of Parliament for Fermanagh in 1874, High Sheriff of Fermanagh in 1845


The Humphrys 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. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2014, November 24) Albion voyage to New South Wales, Australia in 1828 with 192 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/albion/1828
  8. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) JOSEPH SOMES / SOAMES 1850. Retrieved http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1850JosephSomes.htm
  9. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) JOSEPH SOMES / SOAMES 1850. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1850JosephSomes.htm
  10. ^ South Australian Register Monday 9th April 1855. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Lady Macdonald 1855. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/ladymacdonald1855.shtml


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