Hemingway Surname Meaning, History & Origin

Select Hemingway Meaning 
The Hemingway surname has
its origin
in a now lost
place-name in the West Riding of Yorkshire, possibly in the vicinity of
to judge by the early distribution of the name.
Hemingway combines the Danish personal name Hemming
with the Middle English way
meaning “way” or “path.” It appeared as
a surname in the 1379 Yorkshire poll tax returns.
Hemingway is the main
spelling. Variants have been Hemmingway
and Hemenway

Hemingway Resources on

Hemingway Ancestry

England. Hemingway
as a surname seems to have first made its appearance in the vicinity of
Southowram and Hipperholme sometime in the 1300’s.
It then spread along the Calder valley
between Brighouse and Dewsbury:

  • William
    de Hemingway appeared in Brighouse court
    in 1391 for cutting green wood in Brynescoles forest.
  • Robert
    Hemingway of Overbrear
    born in Northowram in 1539, was said to have been a usurer and grown
    wealthy as
    a result.
  • John
    and then Daniel Hemingway resided at Coley Hall until Daniel died
    there in the 1640’s.
  • while
    Abraham Hemingway of Southwood House in Northowram
    married the maid Ann Brefitt in 1703.

earlier line from Robert Hemingway,
born in Northowram in 1460, has been traced to Dewsbury in the mid-16th
and was still there in the late 19th century.

The Hemingway population remained
concentrated in this part of west Yorkshire until well into the 19th
century. Thomas Hemingway was a blanket
manufacturer in Dewsbury in the early 1800’s.
Other Hemingways were masons and contractors in Dewsbury, the
best known
being John
undertook the
masonry for the Menai bridge in the 1840’s.
Many of these Hemingways were to be found in the Earlsheaton
district of

Of the 2,150 Hemingways in the 1891 UK census, more than 80% of them
were recorded in Yorkshire.

The forebear of many of the
Hemingways in
America was Ralph Hemenway or Hemingway who came to Roxbury,
Massachusetts and
married Elizabeth Hewes there in 1634.
Many reports show Ralph as having been born near Bradford in
in 1603. However, no such record of his
birth nor of his parents exists there.
The descent from Ralph was covered in Patricia Hemingway’s 1988
book The Hemingways. Of
his descendants:

first US census taken
in 1790 used the Hemenway spelling in Massachusetts and the Hemingway
in Connecticut.”

The line via Ralph’s son Joshua was to be found in Framingham,
Massachusetts. Jonathan Hemenway was an
early settler there in 1700. Jeffrey
Hemenway, born around 1738, was an adopted foster child of these
Hemenways. Today Hemenway Elementary
School in Framingham commemorates the Hemenway name.

Connecticut. Another son Samuel, a
deacon, moved to the
New Haven colony of Connecticut in the 1660’s.
Many of his Hemingway descendants remained in the area. The Hemingway family was one of the founding
families of the Hotchkiss boarding school in Lakeville, Connecticut in

Hemingway, however, moved his family to Chicago in 1854.
Three of his sons fought on the Union side
during the Civil War. Anson Hemingway and
his son Clarence, a doctor, lived at Oak Park outside Chicago. In 1909 Anson
gave his grandson Ernest
who was later to become
the famous author,
special tenth birthday present of a 20-gauge
. This was
believed to have sparked

Hemingways in the South. The
largest number of Hemingways today in America is in South Carolina. One forebear here seems to have been Thomas
Hemingway who arrived from Aughton in east Yorkshire sometime in the
1790’s. He died in Horry county in

From that line, it is believed, came J.A. Hemingway, born there in
who became a plantation overseer and later a plantation owner in
county. His brother the Rev. W.A.
Hemingway served as chaplain to Confederate troops during the Civil War. Three later Hemingway brothers after the war
cotton growers and merchants at Lambert, which was renamed Hemingway
after them in 1913.

Other Hemingways moved onto Mississippi. William
Hemingway was a judge and mayor of
Jackson in the early 1900’s. He was also
the athletics director of Mississippi University and his name is
in the Vaught-Hemingway stadium of Ole Miss.

William Hemingway came to South
Carolina from Yorkshire in 1829. His
family later migrated
to Mississippi

and New Zealand
. Wilfred H. Hemingway, born in 1879, was an
Auckland lawyer who co-founded the Hemingway Robertson Institute, a
pioneer in correspondence
courses. He moved across the Tasman Sea
to Sydney in 1920. His daughter Dorothy
was a theatrical producer there. His son
Bill played rugby for Australia


Hemingway Miscellany

Hemingway Origins.  Charles Bardsley in his 1901 Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames
gave the alternative spellings of Hemingway as Hemmingway, Hemmaway,
Heminway.  He commented on the origin of
the name as follows:

“Of Hemingway – i.e. the
road that led to Hemming’s house; from Hemming (or Hemingfield, a
village near
Wombwell in Yorkshire).  Representatives of this name will be met
with in nearly
every town and village in the West Riding of Yorkshire.  I have
not discovered
the precise spot.  Two of the individuals referred to above lived
in Southowram.”

Richard Hemingway of Overbrear.  In 1613 Robert Hemingway of Overbrear gave forty pounds towards the maintenance of a preacher at Coley
Chapel, to be
bestowed at the discretion of his executors.

John Hemingway, Stomemason.  John Hemingway
was a stonemason by trade.  Born in Dewsbury, he travelled about,
working on the
various railway engineering works of the time.  He was honored, he
said, to work
alongside Robert Stephenson on his innovative design and assist in
working out
such a project.

He lived at Craig Owen by the Menai Bridge with his second wife
Sarah and his family. His daughters were married from there. Sadly both
sons died at a young age and thus the Hemingway named died with him.

Through his
daughter’s descendants, a portrait of John Hemingway has survived.  After restoration it now hangs as part of the
exhibition at Menai Heritage.

Ernest Hemingway and His Descendants.  Ernest Hemingway was married four times but only three children came out of these marriages.

Elizabeth Richardson (married in 1921) – John (Jack) Hemingway (1923-2000) who was an avid fly fisherman and a longtime resident of Idaho.

Three children resulted from his marriage to Puck Whittlesey – Joan, Margaux and Mariel (Margaux was a model, Mariel an actress)

Pauline Pfeiffer (married in 1927)  (1) Patrick (born 1928) who farmed in Africa and then lived in Montana  (2) Gregory Hemingway (1931-2001) who later became the transsexual Gloria.  — there were eight children resulted from his four marriages (John and Lorian were writers, Edward a children’s book illustrator, Patrick a professional photographer).

Martha Gellhorn (married in 1940) – no children.

Mary Welsh (married in 1946) – no

A biographer wrote: “Hemingway could never sustain a long-lived, wholly
satisfying relationship with any one of his four wives. Married
domesticity may
have seemed to him the desirable culmination of romantic love, but
sooner or
later he became bored and restless, critical and bullying.”

committed suicide in
Idaho in 1961.  There were in fact five suicides in the Hemingway family over four
generations – Hemingway’s father, Clarence; siblings Ursula and
Leicester as well as
Ernest himself (and apparently also his third wife Martha); and

Hemingway, South Carolina.  Hemingway was
created from a crossroads community named Lamberts in 1911 by Dr. W. C.
Hemingway in an effort to secure a depot for the proposed Seaboard Air
Railroad which was to run from Mullins to Andrews.
Land owned by Dr. Hemingway was surveyed and
the lots auctioned off.  Subsequently the railroad established a
Hemingway depot
and the post office name was changed to Hemingway.

today is a relaxed
southern town with a population of 570 and a heritage of cotton and
farming.  It has been called the barbecue
capital of the world. 

Hemingway Migration to Mississippi.  William Hemmingway, a plasterer from Dewsbury in Yorkshire, left England on the Majestic
for Charleston, South Carolina
in 1829.   He settled initially in the
Camden area.

the time of the 1860
census, however, one of the “m”’s had been dropped from their name and
they had
migrated to Madison county, Mississippi.
William and his wife Henrietta raised five children, all


Hemingway Names

  • Ernest Hemingway was an American author who
    was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1954.
    Many of his works are considered classics of
    American literature. His fame was
    accentuated by his virile public image and his love of adventure

Select Hemingway Numbers Today

  • 4,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Yorkshire)
  • 2,000 in America (most numerous in South Carolina)
  • 1,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)


Select Hemingway and Like Surnames

These are the names of some literary giants.  If you are interested in the name behind the literary figure, please click on the surname below.




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