Hoover Surname Meaning, History & Origin

Hoover Surname Meaning

Hoover is an anglicized form of the German Huber surname, which originally designated a landowner or a prosperous small farmer. Huber or Hueber (with the umlaut) began as a Swiss name and is now found in Switzerland, Austria and the south of Germany. 

Hoover Surname Resources on the Internet

Hoover Surname Ancestry

  • from Southern Germany (Huber) and Switzerland
  • to America and Canada

An early Huber was Bertoldus Hubere, a citizen of Bern, who was born around 1190. Martin Huber was recorded as a Basel citizen in 1504. There were Anabaptist Huber martyrs in Switzerland and in southern Germany during the 16th century. The Huber numbers today are approximately:

  • 15,000 in Switzerland
  • 22,000 in Austria
  • and 70,000 in Germany.

America. It has been estimated that more than fifty Hubers came to America in the years prior to the Revolutionary War, many of them being Mennonites. One family tradition has it that the first Hubers in America were three brothers, one who went to Bucks county, Pennsylvania, another to Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, and a third to North Carolina.

Most Hubers headed for Pennsylvania. The first comer was probably Hans Huber from Switzerland who came via the Palatine in 1710 and settled at Mill Creek in Lancaster county, Pennsylvania. Meanwhile Jacob Huber from Schleswig-Holstein arrived in Conestoga township, Lancaster county in 1719. These and other Hubers had generally Americanized themselves to Hoover by the 1760’s.

The lines of two famous Hoovers can be traced back to these early arrivals.

Herbert Hoover.  The 31st President of the United States has been traced back to the immigrant Andreas Huber.  He apparently arrived in Pennsylvania in 1738, moved to Maryland in 1746, and finally settled along the banks of the Uwharrie river in Randolph county, North Carolina in 1762. The Hoover mill is still to be found there.

It was his fourth son John who started the movement westward, first to Ohio in the early 1800’s and then to a Quaker community in Iowa where Herbert Hoover was born in 1874.

J. Edgar Hoover.  The Director of the FBI had a line going back to Johannes Huber who purchased land in Germany township in York county, Pennsylvania in 1758. He and his family later lived in Dauphin county where they were part of the Reformed Mennonites there.

Son Michael moved into the Washington DC area in 1803 and this was where his descendant J. Edgar Hoover was born in 1895. Some irregularities about his family history and birth certificate have resulted in rumors about J. Edgar Hoover’s ancestry circulating during his lifetime and afterwards.

Other Hoovers.  Some Hoovers were Loyalists to the English Crown and migrated north to Canada in the 1790’s. And a number of Hoovers later moved west from Pennsylvania as the 19th century proceeded:

  • Bishop Martin Hoover of the Mennonite church settled in Elkhart county, Indiana in 1845.
  • Daniel Hoover had moved to Ohio sometime in the 1840’s. His son William H. Hoover, the man behind the Hoover Company of vacuum cleaners, was born in Canton, Ohio in 1849.
  • while Isaac and Anna Hoover moved from Tennessee to Burnet county in Texas in 1853 and an area that came to be known as Hoover’s valley.

Dr. Leonce Hoover was a Swiss who came to America with his family and was an early settler in Los Angeles (Hoover Street in Los Angeles was named after him). His son Vincent was a real estate developer in the area.

Canada. Jacob Hoover was a Mennonite Loyalist who brought his family from Pennsylvania to Canada at the conclusion of the Revolutionary War. He settled in Haldimand county, Ontario.  Ludwig Hoover and his family, who settled in York county, were among a number of other Hoover families who made the trek north. The DNA’s of both Jacob and Ludwig Hoover has been tested.

Hoover Surname Miscellany

Early Huber Swiss Mennonite Martyrs.  Huber is a Swiss family name that was found among the Mennonites in Germany and later in America.

There were early records of their persecution for their religious beliefs. A Swiss Anabaptist named Ulrich Huber was executed in 1538, and Hans Huber, a German Anabaptist, was put to death in 1542 at Wasserburg on the Inn.

The Hutterite Chronicle contained the martyr record of Wolfgang Hueber, who was executed in Bavaria in 1559. A number of Huebers were mentioned in the Chronicle.  There was a record, for example, of Caspar Hueber who was ordained as a preacher in 1557.

Reader Feedback – Andreas Huber and Herbert Hoover.  Matthias Huber put the Ittlingen Hubers from Germany together with President Herbert Hoover, building his case on the Andreas Huber who was born in Ittlingen in 1724.

But something does not fit together. Within the same family he has my ancestor, Ludwig Huber and his immigrant parents, Hans Jacob and Anna Barbara Huber, Lutheran settlers in Lancaster county.  However, our DNA test is not even remotely compatible.

This leads me think that the Andreas Huber from Ittlingen must have been the Andreas and Catherine Huber of Leitersburg, Maryland who later moved to Fayette county, Pennsylvania. These people became Dunkers. So did Ludwig Huber’s descendants.

What does this mean? It tells me that the traditional Gregor Johannas Huber ancestor claim, as described by Kris Hocker, still seems to be the best one of the bunch.

Peter Hoover (peterhoover.tas@gmail.com)

The Hoover Mill in North Carolina.  In 1928 President Herbert Hoover described in a speech the home of his first American ancestor:

“The earliest ancestor of whom I have record, Andrew Hoover, a settler in Maryland about two centuries ago, migrated to North Carolina and built his home in Randolph county of that state.  He did his part in building the community and his grave lies in the little burying ground on what was then the Uwharrie river farm.  His son, my great-great grandfather, was part of that movement which started west from your frontier.”

That son was John Hoover, a millwright.  It was his business to build and repair the watermills, which by that time occupied most of the available sites not only on Uwharrie but on other interior streams in central North Carolina.  He was a builder of water mills at a time when they were the sole manufacturers of the country’s meal and flour.  His travels through the section made him widely known among many of the early settlers and their children.

The community that Andrew Hoover had founded in Randolph county continues today under the same name, although the old activities have ceased and most of the old families have moved away.  Andrew Hoover’s water mill remains and had been for a long time with descendants of the Hoover family who had remained in North Carolina.

Rumors About J. Edgar Hoover’s Ancestry.  There were many rumors during his time at the FBI in Washington DC that there was black ancestry in J. Edgar Hoover.

Mildred McGhee’s family lived in Pike county in Mississippi on the site of the former plantation of a Hoover family. According to her account, a mixture of the family’s oral history and reconstructed memories, the Washington Hoovers were a mixture of black and white and were related to the Mississippi Hoovers.  She and her family were descended from the union of a slave woman and the slave woman’s master, which resulted in the birth of a daughter in 1814 in Virginia who was named Elizabeth Allan.

Elizabeth, according to the oral history, was taken to Maryland by a Hoover man. Her first born was Emily who was very light-skinned.  She was taken away to Mississippi where she became the mistress of the plantation owner William Hoover, and bore many children by him. Meanwhile, according to the oral tradition, Elizabeth, still in the Maryland/D.C. area, married a William Hoover and passed for white and had seven children by him.

The records in fact show that William Hoover, born in 1804 in Maryland, married Elizabeth Allan who was born in 1814 in Virginia. They have seven children, including a son John T. Hoover who had a child named Dickerson N. Hoover, the father of J. Edgar Hoover.

Millie herself had heard rumors that J. Edgar himself was not the son of Dickerson N. Hoover of Washington, as was officially reported, but that he had been born in the South, probably in New Orleans, and then taken to Washington, D.C. at a very young age and raised there by the Hoover family.

However, these stories are just rumors and many dispute the allegations.

Jacob Hoover, Loyalist in Canada.  A plaque at the Hoover cemetery in Haldimand county, Ontario reads:

“Jacob Hoover 1729 – 1810.  In 1791 Jacob Hoover, a Pennsylvania Mennonite of German – Swiss descent, acquired 2,500 acres of land on both sides of Stoney Creek, thereby becoming the first settler in Rainham and Walpole townships.  Jacob, and his wife Barbara Summers, their sons and daughters, Christian, David, Abraham, Benjamin, Henry, Daniel, Mary Miller, Susannah Wolfe, Elizabeth Sternaman and their families settled in 1793.

The Hoovers had followed the Loyalists to Upper Canada after the conclusion of the American War of Independence in 1783.  They were noted in a local history as “among the most respected and substantial yeomen of Haldimand county.”

The family home in Fisherville, the Hoover Log House built in 1793, still stands there.

Hoover Company Beginnings.  Murray Spangler, a janitor in Canton, Ohio, suffered from asthma and the dust stirred up while he cleaned staircases and rugs did nothing but worsen his health.

Having given this matter some thought he came up with an ingenious solution.  He took a soapbox, a fan, a silk pillowcase and a broomstick and assembled everything into the first domestic vacuum cleaner ever seen.  He tried out his new device and was very encouraged by the results.

He showed his invention to a friend Susan Hoover who tried out the new vacuum cleaner and was convinced of its merits.  Susan talked to her husband, William H. Hoover, about it. “Boss” Hoover, as he was to be called, manufactured and marketed leather products in his shop in Canton.

Noting his wife’s enthusiasm and with his own flair and instinct for an entrepreneurial opportunity, he quickly understood the potential of the new invention. He bought out Spangler’s patent and started producing the vacuum cleaners in a corner of his shop in 1908, hiring on six workers and producing six units a day.  From these modest beginnings came the Hoover Company.

The Hoover Company remained under family ownership, from “Boss William H, son Herbert W, and grandson Herbert W Jr. – until it was sold in 1986.

Hoover Street in Los Angeles.  Hoover Street, west of the Harbor Freeway, was named after Dr. Leonce Hoover, a Swiss who served as a French military surgeon under Napoleon Bonaparte in his early twenties.

After arriving in Los Angeles in 1849 with his wife and three children, he changed the spelling of his name from Huber to Hoover and became a pioneering vintner, growing high-quality wine grapes near what is now the town of Cudahy.  Hoover died in 1862.  Thirty years later, Hoover Street was named in his honor.

Reader Feedback – DNA’s of Hoovers in Canada.  I am a descendant of Jacob and Barbara Hoover who settled in Rainham township, Ontario, in the 1790s, as well as Ludwig Hoover’s family that settled in York county, Ontario, shortly after.

We have had two Y-DNA tests from my Hoover ancestors from York County, Ontario and from my Hoover ancestors from Rainham, Haldimand county, Ontario.

Now my question is – have you ever discovered a Y-DNA connection to any descendants of the so-called Trippstadt or Ellerstadt Hubers, immigrants from Germany?  I would be really interested in knowing how this compares.   Also I would like to know of any others who share similar Y-DNA codes.

You mentioned something in your website about J. Edger Hoover.  I know where that family is from.  They originally lived in Derry Township, Dauphin county in Pennsylvania and were part of the Reformed Mennonite (Herrite) group. Then they moved out to Muscatene, Iowa, etc. All of that is well documented and known amongst us. I  grew up a Mennonite and am part of a Hutterite community on the north coast of Tasmania, Australia.

Peter Hoover (peterhoover.tas@gmail.com)

Hoover Names

  • William H. Hoover acquired the vacuum cleaner patents in 1908 of what was to become the Hoover Company. 
  • Herbert Hoover was the 31st President of the United States, in office from 1928 to 1932 and presiding over the start of the Great Depression. 
  • J. Edgar Hoover was the first Director of the FBI. Appointed the Director of its predecessor in 1924, he remained in charge of the FBI until his death in 1977.
  • Colleen Hoover from Texas, a writer of romance and young adult fiction, was the best-selling author in America in the early 2020’s.

Hoover Numbers Today

  • 24,000 in America (most numerous in Pennsylvania)
  • 2,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)

Hoover and Like Surnames

The surnames found here cover most of the US Presidential surnames since the first President, George Washington.  Click on the surname below if you wish to know more of that particular President and his name.

ClintonJacksonNixonVan Buren


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Written by Colin Shelley

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