compiled by Kent Alan Huff, March 22, 2010



My discoveries on

by Kent Alan Huff


I just recently tried out the service and discovered within the first few hours of using it that my family didn't come from Germany as I had been told - we actually come from Holland, and the first to come over to America was in 1650, and his name was Paulus Dirckszen (son of Dirck) Hoff.  He came to New York (which was New Amsterdam at the time).  

I also discovered that John Huff (1845-1900), Worley Huff’s father, served in the Civil War (he enlisted in Company H, Virginia 64th Infantry Regiment on 22 Aug 1863).  John married Nancy Rachel Wells, who was a great-granddaughter of Zachariah Wells (1745-1825), who served as a bodyguard to George Washington in the Revolutionary War.

I also found that the first to come to America on my mother's side was John Dod, who came from England in 1607 on a ship with Captain John Smith and settled in Jamestown, Virginia, and he married the daughter of Chief Eagle Plume of the Powhatan tribe of the Iroquois nation. That daughter was a cousin of Pocahontas. So I’ve discovered that my family is VERY American.  I still haven't located a single German relative, but in addition to the Dutch, English and Iroquois ancestors, I've found Irish, Scottish, and French.

So I descend from Chief Eagle Plume – according to the records, he was my 12th great grandfather.  Chief Eagle Plume’s brother, Chief Powhatan, was Pocahontas’s father, so that makes Pocahontas my 14th Great Grand Aunt.  John and Jane’s son, Jesse Dodson, had a son named Charles

Dodson (1649-1703), who had a son named Charles Dodson Jr. (1675-1715), who had a son named Thomas Dodson (1681-1740), who had a son named Thomas Dodson Jr. (1707-1783), who had a son named William Dodson (1738-1832), who had a son named Simon Dotson (1761-1849) (the last name got changed here to Dotson), who had a daughter named Mary Polly Dotson (1817-1877), who married Charles Huff (1812-1862), who had a son named John Huff (1845-1900), who had a son named Worley Huff (1882-1940), who had a son named Arnold Huff (1906-1950), who had a son named Gary Kenneth Huff (1946-), who is my father.  

This website is what I have been able to find out as of today, March 7, 2010.  There may be inaccuracies, for that I apologize.  This is a work in progress.  I am sure I will be building on it as time goes on.  I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I have enjoyed compiling it.

Huff Family Coat of Arms / Family Crest

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Surname: Huff 

Recorded in many forms including Hof, Hoff, Hough, Hofer, Hoofe, Houfe, Hufe, Huff, Huffa, Huffar, Huffer, Huffard, Huffin, Huffy, and others. 

Origin: English

Where did the English Huff family come from? What is the English coat of arms/family crest? When did the Huff family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the history of the family name?

The ancestors of the Huff surname lived among the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture. The name comes from when they lived near a hill or steep ridge of land. The surname Huff is usually derived from the Old English word hoh, which means heel or projecting ridge of land. However, it is sometimes derived from the Old Norse word haugr, which means mound or hill.

Furthermore, the name Huff may be derived from residence in one of a variety of similarly named places: Hoe is in Norfolk; Hoo is in Kent; places called Hooe are in Devon and Sussex; Hose is in Leicestershire; places named Heugh are in Durham and Northumberland; and settlements called Hough are found in both Cheshire and Derby. Before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, French and other languages became incorporated into English through the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the literate. The variations of the surname Huff include Hough, Huff, Houfe, Hoff, Hoffe and others.

First found in Cheshire where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.

The surname was first recorded in the latter part of the 14th Century, (see below) and early examples of recordings taken from surviving rolls and registers include Thomas Hoofe in the Register of the Freeman of York City, and dated 1626, whilst on November 28th 1656, Katterne Houfe was christened at the church of St. John the Baptist, Chester, Cheshire. Other recordings taken from the church registers of the city of London include Jane Huffin who was christened at St Martins in the Field, Westminster, on December 11th 1631, James Huffey christened at St. Olave's Southwark, on November 14th 1661, and Mercy Huffer, who married Richard Matthews at St Andrews by the Wardrobe, on January 8th 1712. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Huff. This was dated 1379 in the Poll Tax returns of Yorkshire, during the reign of King Richard 11th, known as Richard of Bordeaux, 1377 - 1399. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling. This name was a baptismal name 'the son of Hugh'. The name was derived from the Old English word 'hoh' and also meant the dweller by the projecting piece of land. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. Early records of the name mention Roger del Howes, 1273 County Cambridge. Richard del Howes was documented in the year 1273 in the County of Sussex. William de Howe of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. A notable member of the name was Elias Howe (1819-67) the American inventor, born in Spencer, Massachusetts. He worked as a mechanic in Lowell and Boston, where he constructed and patented in 1846, the first sewing machine. He made an unsuccessful visit to England to introduce his invention and, in returning in 1847 to Boston, found his patent had been infringed. Harassed by poverty, he entered on seven year's war of litigation to protect his rights, and was ultimately successful in 1854, and amassed a fortune. It was a popular given name among the Normans in England, partly due to the fame of St. Hugh of Lincoln (1140-1200) who was born in Burgundy and who established the first Carthusian monastery in England. The name was also used in honour of St. Hugh of Cluny (1024-1109). In Scotland the name has been widely used as an equivalent of the Celtic Aodh meaning 'Fire'. The French Romantic novelist Victor Hugo (1802-85) was the grandson of a carpenter born in Nancy. The name is common in this form in Lorraine. Hugo himself claims descent from illustrious forebears of this name, such as Pierre-Antoine Hugo, born in 1532, who was Privy Counsellor to the Grand Duke of Lorraine, and a Louis Hugo who was a bishop. Christiaan Huygens (1629-95) who first formulated the wave theory of light, was a member of a prominent Dutch family; his grandfather, father and brother were all in the service of the Dutch royal family. His father Constantin (1596-1687) was an equally distinguished 17th century classical Dutch scholar, and knighted by James I. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.

A great wave of immigration to the New World was the result of the enormous political and religious disarray that struck England at that time. Families left for the New World in extremely large numbers. The long journey was the end of many immigrants and many more arrived sick and starving. Still, those who made it were rewarded with an opportunity far greater than they had known at home in England. These emigrant families went on to make significant contributions to these emerging colonies in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers carried this name or one of its variants: Atherton Hough settled in Boston in 1633; John Hough arrived in Philadelphia in 1683 with his wife and child; Richard Hough settled in Pennsylvania in 1683 with his wife and children. 


By Granville W. Hough


     In 1961, I was able to make two short visits to the British Museum in London, which is the home of much of the archival material for the British Isles.  I was able to determine several things in the short time I had.  The name HOUGH is found in several parts of the British Isles, and it is pronounced differently in different areas.  It may be "how" or "hoe" or "hoff" in Ireland, Northern England and Scotland, and Eastern England.  It is specifically "huff" in Cheshire and in the shires close by.  The origin of that group seems to have been a group of Flemish religious refugees, who were settled about 1200 on the border with the Welsh to absorb the shock of any uprising among those rebellious Welsh tribes. The list of descendants included the names Hough and Ainsworth, the only two I now recall.  I was able to determine that this branch of the family had done well enough to have its own coat of arms.  The name had changed over the years to the form Hough, pronounced "huff."  There was no indication that this family was related to, or even shared an origin with, the families which became Hough in other parts of the British Isles.  Of course, in the 300 to 400 years after they were first settled in the Cheshire area, the family members from Cheshire could have spread out.  I'm inclined to think they did not, and that the other families have different origins.  I'd look for the origin of the phonetic "huff" group in Flanders, not England.


     Now, after thirty years of research in the U. S., I have never met a HOUGH of English ancestry who traces back to the Cheshire area who was not a phonetic "huff."  Conversely, anyone who knows that his HOUGH name has been "huff" for several generations is probably a descendant of the Cheshire group.  Anyone of English ancestry whose HOUGH name is "how" is likely of Irish or Yorkshire origin.  Anyone of English ancestry who is HOUGH but pronounces it to rhyme with cough is likely of Eastern English origin, possibly from the Dane invasion before the time of Alfred the Great.  There are Scottish families, too, who more often than not spell their name as Haugh, and it rhymes with cough.


     There are Norwegian HOUGH families, and they go along with the "cough" rhyme.  The German and Austrian families seem to be somewhat like the big German HOFF family.  The "hoe" families mostly came early from the Netherlands to New York and New Jersey, as were Houghtaling, etc, before shortening to Hough, pronounced "hoe."  There are some large family of German origin which settled in MD and PA and spread out from there.  They spell the name Hough and pronounce it "hoak," though some have opted for "hoaf" or "hoe" in later generations. These families seem to have been Hauck and Hofe in their earliest German records, giving rise to the variations of "hoak" and "hoaf."  There may have been an English group which used the "hoe" approach, as the name HOUGHTON is pronounced like Hoeton.  At some time this English name applied to those who lived in a place called Hough.


     So, I conclude that the only family that I can connect with in England is the Cheshire group which has been phonetically "huff" for several hundred years.  What it was before, and what is was in Flanders seems beyond recall.  I can establish no relationship of this group in Cheshire to families from Ireland, Scotland, Yorkshire, Eastern England, or to other European countries.  It certainly does not seem to have been in England until several generations after William the Conqueror came from Normandy.  If there is a name in the Doomsday Book, I do not know what it would be; and I specifically do not know how one would recognize it was an ancestral form of HOUGH.  


     When William Penn began his effort to settle Quaker families to PA, he was able to convince numerous families in the Cheshire area of the opportunities.  There were HOUGH families among these Quakers, and there were other HOUGH individuals who seemed sympathetic to the Quaker approaches, though they were not particularly active in the meetings.  Seven or eight of these individuals came to PA between 1681 and 1683.  They were John and Hannah, and their infant son John; Richard; John; Samuel; Thomas; Francis; and Michael.  O. L. HOUGH studied the available records for these persons and published the results in 1975 asHough in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, 1683-1850.  Based on the same kind of reasoning I used above, he concluded they were all related but that none seemed to be brothers.  The PA records simply do not indicate any such relationships.  Specifically, though, John was not brother to

Richard.  Richard is known to have had a brother, John, who stayed in Maclesfield, near Chester.  Michael did not sign his name as Hough, but as Huff, which would indicate he was somewhat removed from the others.  He died in 1687.  One other person, Stephen HUGH, probably died soon after arrival, as his widow remarried in the 12th month, 1684/85, to Thomas Norbury.  It is questionable that he was a HOUGH at all.  The same can be said for Walter HOUGH, who was an overseer of Highways in 1680 in what was later Bensalem Twp of Bucks Co.  As he came earlier than the Cheshire families, he may have had a different origin.  There was also a William HOUGH who on the 26th day, 4th mo, 1684, received warrant for survey of a Philadelphia lot between Front St., Swamp, 2d St, and Enoch.  No other records have been found for him and he did not seem to be a Quaker.  Some people have mentioned a Daniel HOUGH as an early arrival, but the source of their information is not known.  In view of the traditions of some HUFF/HOUGH descendants of the PA/NJ families, it would be very useful to find some records of an early Quaker Daniel HOUGH of PA and NJ.


     If copies of Hough in Bucks Co, Pennsylvania... are still available, they can be obtained from Mary Rachak, 4439 S. Lowell Blvd, Denver, CO 80236.  If not now available, microfilm copies can probably be obtained from the LDS Family History Center.  I'm sure Lou donated a copy to that library.  


     I was able to correspond with Capt. Earl P. Huff (Hough and/or Huff Families in England and America) before his death, and he wanted to establish that his ancestor, Michael HUFF of MD and PA, was descended from the PA Quaker group.  He had no direct line to this group, and there had been a John HOUGH transported to MD at about the same time the Quakers were settling in PA.  The only real connection he had was that there had been a Michael Huff among the Quakers, and 100 years later, there was a Michael Huff who was his ancestor.


     I can say that Capt Huff was in no way satisfied with his lineage of the family in England, and he wanted me to work on it.  I was in Thule, Greenland, when we were corresponding, and he died before I got back to research.  The lineage which he outlined was the best he could do with the available information.  I could see that much more primary data was required before it could be quoted as a proper lineage.  That is what I hold today.  There is no authentic, proven lineage for any Hough of English origin more than one or two generations before the person who came to America.  Further, I have done no English research, and I do not plan to do any.  But I can recognize proof of a lineage when I see the documentation for it.  In recent years, more information may have become available from English parish registers and other sources.  For those who are interested, Capt. Huff placed his book in the Library of Congress, and he specifically did not copyright it so that others could get copies made without reservation.  The Librarian of the Library of Congress will copy the book, or any part of it, for the normal fee for such work, which I believe is 25 cents per page.


     I would say the information in Virkus, or in Colonial Families of the United States, is as accurate as the donor wanted it to be.  The compilers could check the entry for logic, but generally did not require detailed proof.  So I would use those sources with caution.


     There is some evidence that families from the early Quaker arrivals later went to NC.  Specifically,

Daniel and Joseph, sons of John and Hannah, were together in NC by about 1736.  Later Joseph settled in Anson Co, NC, near Samuel HOUGH, who had settled in Anson Co, by 1748. It is thus possible that some of the early settlers in PA who disappeared from the records there went to NC.  Of course, there were 33 monthly meetings of Quakers in NC, mostly from PA; but these HOUGH families did not seem to be members in NC.  Later, there were several families in Stokes and Surry counties who were active Quakers.  Their descendants believe they were grandchildren of John and Hannah.


2 Feb 1993.

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