Hudson Surname Meaning, History & Origin

Select Hudson Meaning
Hudde was an English medieval personal name and Hudson, son of Hudde,
the patronym. Hudde is seen as a pet-form for either Hugh or
The older Anglo-Saxon words huda
and hud may also have
contributed a root in some places. Huda underlies place names such as
Huddington in Worcestershire. Hud
translates as mill and
Hudson may then have meant “son of miller.”

Hudson Resources on

Hudson Ancestry

Early records of the name appear in Yorkshire; John Hudesone in
Wakefield in 1323 and Johannes Hudson in the Yorkshire tax records of

Yorkshire The
name can be seen in Yorkshire parish records from the early 1600’s,
in York and in villages near Doncaster and Bridlington:

  • John
    Hudson acquired the manor at Nunkeeling in 1707 and his family was
    later to be found at Bessingby Hall near Bridlington.
  • another
    John Hudson, the son of a farmer in Beetham, made his mark in the early
    1800’s as a mathematician and tutor to George Peacock.
  • and there
    has been a family line of Hudsons
    in Wakefield
    since the early
    1800’s. They were butchers and publicans primarily and one
    Hudson, Albert Hudson, became mayor of the town in the early

We find Hudsons in Melton Mowbray and Lutterworth in Leicestershire
from Elizabethan times.

Thomas Hudson’s son, Robert, set off for
London where he made his money in haberdashery. In later life, he
returned to Melton Mowbray and founded a hospital and almshouse there
in 1640. His son Sir Henry, who lived in The Limes on Sherrard Street, was
an avid Roundhead supporter during the Civil War.

Hudsons were as
well millers and bakers in the village of Lutterworth. They too
made good. Charles Grave Hudson rose to be high sheriff of
Leicestershire in 1780 and, through family connections, inherited
Wanlip Hall near Leicester. From this family came two brothers
who emigrated in the 1850’s, one to America and the other to
Australia. The elder, John Hudson, had many adventures
in the
American West and left behind a fascinating collection of sketches,
journals, and letters.

London In the
Church of the Grey Friar in London there is a tomb to Rudolph
Hudson, a “citizen and alderman of London” who died in 1530.
There follows Gentleman Henry Hudson, a well-to-do
London alderman and
merchant, and his sons Henry and Thomas who were active with
Elizabethan merchants and explorers in setting up the Muscovy Company
(with the mission of finding a northern passage to Asia).

recruited Henry
(possibly related) to find this passage.
For a man who failed in his mission in four attempts between 1607 and
1610, he achieved everlasting renown on his third voyage by disobeying
his Dutch paymasters and heading for the New World. He discovered
whaling grounds and Hudson Bay in northern Canada and the Hudson river
(which he navigated to Albany) in New York state.

Ireland. The Hudson name
also crops up in Ireland, brought probably from England during the time
of Cromwell. Edward Hudson from county Cork made his
name in Dublin in the late 18th century as an eminent dentist, at a
time when dentistry was still very much a fledgling practice. His
son William was a composer, collector of ancient Irish music, and an
Irish patriot.

William Hudson from Kent came with his family in Winthrop’s fleet in
1630. His family was to be found in Massachusetts, Ohio, and
Michigan. David Hudson was a pioneer Connecticut settler in
Ohio. The town of
Hudson was named after him and the house that he built there in 1806
stands. Hudsonville in Michigan was named after Homer
Hudson who had moved there from Ohio in the 1850’s to grow fruit trees.

Daniel Hudson was an early arrival in Watertown, Massachusetts. A
descendant. Frederic Hudson, was the distinguished 19th century
journalist and editor for many years of The New York Herald. Thomas
Hudson settled in Lynn along the Saugus river in 1637. An iron
forge was established on this property and its first casting, an iron
pot, was handed down as a family heirloom. John E. Hudson from
this family became President of AT&T in 1887.

Virginia Other
Hudsons came to Virginia. The Virginia passenger lists
shows several Hudson arrivals in the 1630’s, including probably some
London Muscovy Hudsons.

A Richard
arrived in 1635
as an
indentured servant. A later Richard Hudson settled along the
southern branch of the James river.
He and his wife Mary had three sons who moved onto Chesterfield,
Amelia, and Hanover Counties in Virginia. Descendants can be
traced to North and South Carolina. Elizabeth Hudson from the
Hanover line was the mother of the statesman Henry Clay. A
subsequent Virginia Hudson
family included the splendidly named Cicero Demosthenes Hudson who
moved with his family to Alabama.

Hudsons in the South
Just how the Hudson name came to be associated with the Choctaw tribe
in Mississippi is unclear. The earliest reference is to a “widow”
Hudson who was born in 1768 and died in 1831 during the Choctaw
resettlement. She was the mother of George Hudson who became the
principal chief of the Choctaw Nation in 1860, but lost his position
when he refused to come out in favor of the Confederacy.

Frederick Hudson had come from Virginia in the 1830’s and started a
plantation at Shuqualak in Noxabee county, near the land which the
Choctaws had vacated. Clement Hudson’s plantation was in Carroll
county. And Franklin Hudson ran the Blythewood plantation in Iberia
county, Louisiana. Many of these Hudsons later moved onto Texas.

In recent years, several African American Hudsons have risen to
prominence in Mississippi. Winsom and Dovie Hudson were fearless
sisters who fought the early battles of civil rights. Heather
McTeer Hudson became the first woman black mayor of Greenville,
Mississippi in 2006.

Canada. Hudson was among
the first names of Canada because Henry Hudson, the explorer, had left
his name to Hudson Bay. Hudson’s Bay Company was formed to profit
from the fur trade. Its vast network of trading posts formed the
nucleus for later political authority in many parts of western Canada
and the United States. Today the company is best known for its
department stores throughout Canada.

Australia. In 1788 the
First Fleet left London with the first consignment of convicts to the
new settlement of Australia. Among the 1,500 onboard was John
Hudson, a nine year old chimney sweep who had stolen some clothes and a
pistol. The judge commented:

“One would wish to snatch such
a boy from destruction for he will only return to the same kind of life
which he had led before.”

So little John Hudson, an orphan, was
sent to
Australia for seven years. He ended up on Norfolk
Island. The last official record of him was that he was punished
“fifty lashes for being outside his hut after nine o’clock.”

A later arrival was William Hudson from a small farming village in the
Lake District. He came on the Star
India in 1862 and
headed for the
gold fields. He and his wife Mary Jane settled in a farm they
named Sunny Brow where they brought up
seventeen children.

New Zealand. Hudsons from
Oxfordshire and Worcestershire came to New Zealand in the 1870’s under
an emigration program sponsored for farm laborers.

George Hudson
came with his family from London in 1881. He had an abiding interest in
natural history and devoted his life to writing and illustrating books
on New Zealand’s moths, butterflies, and beetles. A proper
English gentleman, he did all his fieldwork in a three-piece suit,
complete with a watch chain.


Hudson Miscellany

Henry Hudson, Buried at St. Dunstan’s.  Alderman of London, Henry Hudson, a member of the Guild of Tanners, one of the twelve men from which the Lord Mayor of London may be chosen, a gentleman of great wealth, and lord of half a dozen ancient manors; noted for his public spirit and benevolence; died of malignant fever in December 1555 and was buried in the Church of St. Dunstan’s where his monument is still to be seen.

The Voyages of Henry Hudson

The First Voyage

  • Henry Hudson was selected by the Muscovy Company in 1607 to
    command an expedition “to discover a passage by the North Pole to Japan
    and China.”
  • In May Hudson set sail on
    the Hopewell from Gravesend.
  • Hudson reached Greenland, discovered whaling grounds, and went
    north.  But the conditions were terrible and the weather
    freezing.  The bad weather prompted their return.
  • The reports that Hudson provided resulted in fleets of whaling
    ships being sent into the area.

The Second Voyage

  • In 1608 Henry Hudson was ready to command his second expedition
    to discover a northeast passage through the Arctic waters north of
  • Hudson travelled past Norway and towards Russia.  But
    conditions onboard and the freezing weather and ice led to a near
    mutiny by the crew and Hudson was forced to return. 

The Third Voyage

  • Lacking backers in England for another voyage, Hudson approached
    the Dutch and in 1609 signed a contract with the Dutch United East
    India Company.
  • In April Hudson set sail on the Half
    from Holland under the Dutch flag.  Hudson travelled
    past the colde waters of Norway and towards Russia.  The
    conditions once again led to near mutiny by the crew.
  • Hudson decided to completely change direction and head West
    towards warmer waters and the New World.
  • In July the Half Moon
    passed Newfoundland and Nova Scotia and reached Maine.  He then
    passed Jamestown and ventured into Delaware Bay which proved too
    shallow to explore fully.  By September he reached the mouth of
    the Hudson river and made the decision to explore the river, hoping to
    find a passage to the Indies.
  • He reached Albany up the Hudson river and, after various
    explorations, decided that it was time to return home, reaching
    Dartmouth in England in November.
  • The Dutch ordered Hudson to return to Amsterdam.  But he
    never went.

The Fourth Voyage

  • In 1610 Hudson was backed again by the Muscovy Company to command
    an expedition to search for the NW passage.
  • In April Hudson left London on the Discovery
  • By July he reached the Hudson Strait and tried to enter the
    “Furious Overfall.”
  • The Discovery became
    frozen in the ice and Hudson and his crew found themselves the first
    Europeans to winter in the Canadian Arctic.  It was freezing cold,
    there was limited food, there were savage native Indians.  The
    terrible conditions led the crew to mutiny.
  • Hudson was cast adrift in a small boat with his son John and
    eight loyal crew members.  They were never heard of again.
  • The mutineers returned home.  Only eight made it back to

Family note: Henry Hudson had married Katherine who died in 1624.  They had
sons: Oliver; John, who died with his father on his final voyage; and
Richard, who became the chief representative of the East India Company
in the Bay of Bengal and had several children (some of whom emigrated
to America).  Many have sought to connect the explorer with
Alderman Henry Hudson or with Thomas Hudson of the Muscovy Company, but
the connection is unproven.

Richard Hudson in Virginia.  Richard Hudson came to Virginia in 1635 as an indentured servant to
Obedience Robbins.  Court records indicate a dispute over payment
to Obedience which suggests a servitude.

This Richard was a litigous soul, as these court records
would indicate:

  • Richard sued a Mrs. Savage for payment of some services that were
    rendered.  The court ordered her to pay Richard 600 pounds of
    tobacco and five barrels of corn.
  • Richard brought Goodwife Robbins to court for slandering his wife
    Mary.  Alice Goodwife Robbins received twenty lashes for this
    offence.  It appears that Alice was a disagreeable person
    evidenced by the fact that she was often in court.  For another
    slanderous offence she was “lashed to the end of a canoe and towed over
    the creek.”
  • Richard then appears in court over a disputed hog.  Richard
    claimed that it was stolen and that he could identify it by the
    markings in the ear.  The defendants claimed that the markings
    were destroyed when the sow was attacked by dogs.  Richard then
    claimed that the thieves cut it out.  The outcome was not
  • Family court records show that Richard snuck upon “his girle” and
    her boyfriend in a compromising position in the woods.  It is not
    known if “his girle” was his daughter or a servant.

Thomas Hudson in Twickenham.  Thomas Hudson the portrait painter was a son-in-law of Jonathan
Richardson and the master of Joshua Reynolds.  He came to live in
Twickenham in 1753 in a house in Cross Deep, a little upstream from
Pope’s villa.

By that time his style of portraiture was going out of fashion and he
gave up painting a little later.  When Sir Joshua Reynolds moved
into Wick House on Richmond Hill in 1772, Hudson was said to have

“Little did I think we should ever have country houses
opposite to each other.”

On hearing this, Reynolds retorted:

“Little did I think, when I was a young man, that I
should look down upon Mr. Hudson.”

John Hudson in the West.  John Hudson left Liverpool on the Cambridge
in August 1849 for New York.   But he soon discovered that
his poor economic conditions portended only failure and he wondered if
he could survive in the high-priced atmosphere of Gotham.  The
news of the discovery of gold in California therefore provided a
possible escape from penury.

Attached to the Colony Guard Company of high-minded
gentlemen, he set out across the mountains, down the Ohio, and up the
Missouri to Kansas where he and his companions prepared for the dash
across the plains to the treasure awaiting them.  His illness from
cholera or “mountain fever” forced a disappointing stop at the Mormon
City of the Saints where he decided to spend the winter before
proceeding across the desert to California.

He never made it to California.  He joined the
Mormon church and spent the winter as a teacher in the frontier
settlement of Fort Utah.  He then spent three months as a
draughtsman in a survey of the Great Salt Lake before being assigned by
the Mormon church to a new frontier settlement at Manti in Sampete
valley.  On arrival there, however, he succumbed to an attack of
pneumonia brought on by his mountain sickness and died.

The Hudsons of Wakefield.  James Hudson in a bowler hat is pictured outside his shop on
Westmoreland Street in Wakefield during the Christmas fair of
1906.  At the time the picture was taken, James was not the only
Hudson working in the town.  He was the eldest in the family and
inherited the shop from his father, also named James, in 1867. His
brother Ernest had a butcher’s shop on Brooke Street and another
brother, Alfred, was a fishmonger in Wakefield market.

The first Hudson that the family knew of was Thomas who
had been born in Woolley in 1802.  He had various shops and went
on to become the landlord of the Cock and Bottle Inn on what is now
Marygates Lane.  His father James had been landlord of the
Spangled Bull.  Thomas and the pub featured in Kate Taylor’s book Foul Deeds and Suspicious Deaths in
.  He helped identify three men involved in a
murder.  While they were drinking in his father’s pub, they bought
pies from Thomas with money stolen from the man they had robbed and



Hudson Names

  • Henry Hudson, the explorer, sought the NW passage to Asia but discovered instead Hudson Bay in Canada and the Hudson river in New York state.
  • Robert Spear Hudson from
    Staffordshire was the Victorian entrepreneur who popularized dry soap
    powder and built up a family soap business.
  • W.H Hudson, born in Argentina
    from an English immigrant family, became one of the most popular and widely read naturalists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
  • Rock Hudson, the Hollywood actor, was born Roy Harold Scherer.

Select Hudson Numbers Today

  • 66,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Surrey)
  • 49,000 in America (most numerous in Texas)
  • 27,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)


Select Hudson and Like Surnames  

Patronymic surnames can be with either the “-son” or the shorter “s” suffix to the first name.  The “son” suffix is more common in northern England than in the south and in lowland Scotland.  Here are some of these surnames that you can check out.




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