Umphreys History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Umphreys 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 Umphreys family

The surname Umphreys 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 Umphreys family

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

Umphreys Spelling Variations

Although there are not an extremely large number Welsh surnames, there are an inordinately large number of spelling variations of those surnames. This variety of spellings began almost immediately after the acceptance of surnames within Welsh society. As time progressed, these old Brythonic names were eventually were recorded in English. This process was problematic in that many of the highly inflected sounds of the native language of Wales could not be properly captured in English. Some families, however, did decide to modify their own names to indicate a branch loyalty within the family, a religious adherence, or even a patriotic affiliation. The name Umphreys has seen various spelling variations: Humphreys, Homfray, Humfrey, Humfrie, Humfries, Humfreys, Humphereys, Humphries, Humphrays, Humphray, Humphrey, Humphris, Humphry, Humphryes and many more.

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

Ireland Migration of the Umphreys family to Ireland

Some of the Umphreys 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.

Migration of the Umphreys family

The Welsh migration to North America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries contributed greatly to its rapid development. These migrants were in search of land, work, and freedom. Those Welsh families that survived the long ocean journey were critical to the development of new industries and factories, and to the quick settlement of land. They also added to an ever-growing rich cultural heritage. A search of the immigration and passenger lists has shown a number of people bearing the name Umphreys: Richard Humfrey, who was one of the settlers left at Roanoke, Virginia in 1584 by Sir Walter Raleigh; John Humfrey, who was on record in Massachusetts in 1629.



The Umphreys 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)


Houseofnames.com on Facebook