Hunt Surname Genealogy

The Hunt surname is derived from the Old English hunta meaning “to hunt.” Like
its Border surname equivalent Hunter, Hunt was originally used to
describe a huntsman. The term was not just for the hunting of
stags and wild boar that was the pastime of kings but also for humbler
pursuits such as bird catching.

Hunt Resources on

Hunt Ancestry

The Hunt surname distribution shows a fairly wide spread, from
Lancashire and the Midlands to the south and southwest. Early
Hunts were:

  • the Hunts of Tanworth in Warwickshire, who were first recorded as
    members of the Guild of Knowle in 1500. They were associated for
    a long time with the Beaumont’s estate. A branch of the family
    held the position of Town Clerk of Stratford for 132
  • the Hunts from Shropshire, who date from about 1530. Thomas
    Hunt was High Sheriff of Shropshire in 1656 and bought the Boreatton
    Park estate. A later Hunt of this family, Agnes Hunt, was a
    cripple but became an expert nurse and opened the first open-air
    orthopoedic hospital.
  • and John Hunt of Compton Pauncefoot in Somerset, who was born
    there around 1565. These Hunts were local country gentry.

Edward Hunt was a clergyman in Devon who lived in the second half of
the 17th century. His descendants were also clergymen,
first in Kent, then in Lincolnshire and later in Barbados. Isaac
was brought up in America, but as a Loyalist had to
flee the
country when the Revolutionary War broke out. He returned to
London and his son Leigh Hunt, who grew up there,
became a noted English critic and essayist.

Ireland. Hunt in Ireland can be of English or of Irish
origin. If English it is the name brought by settlers to
Ireland in the 17th century (as with the Hunts of Danesfort in
Cork). If Irish, it can be anglicization of the Gaelic sept
O’Fiachna found in county Roscommon. The Doorty township in
contained a sizeable number of these Hunts, many
of whom were
tenant farmers there.

John Hunt, born in London, came to Ireland in 1939 and settled in
Limerick where he became well-known as an antiquarian and art
collector. After his death in 1976, his collection has been
housed at the Hunt Museum in Limerick.

America. Ralph Hunt was
an early colonist of Long Island who arrived there in 1652 when it was
still Dutch territory.

“Ralph Hunt seems to have been a leader
in all of the public affairs of Newtown, Long Island and was foremost
among his neighbors in defying the authority of the Dutch governor
Stuyvesant on Manhattan island. When the English acquired New
Netherlands and drove the Dutch away, Ralph Hunt was one of the first
two magistrates appointed under English rule.”

His son Samuel was a wealthy landowner in Hunterdon county New Jersey
and a later Hunt – known as Miller James Hunt – was one of
the pioneers of
the New Jersey Hopewell community. The Hunt line subsequently
went south to
Rowan county, North Carolina and then to Missouri.

New Jersey. John
Hunt was a prominent Quaker minister from the Moorestown township
in New Jersey. He kept a diary, most of which has been preserved,
from 1770 to 1824. A descendant was Alfred Hunt, the first
president of what was to become the Bethlehem Steel Company.

Theodore Hunt, a New Jersey native, had moved to St. Louis in 1814
after a brief spell as a sea captain. His son Charles was a
prominent member of the pro-Confederate “Knights of the Golden Circle”
in Missouiri in the years building up to the Civil War.

New York.
Thomas Hunt from Northamptonshire came to
Connecticut in 1639 and later settled in the 1660’s at his Grove farm
Westchester, New York. This farm stayed
with various members of the Hunt family until 1775.

A later Thomas Hunt migrated to Virginia
sometime around 1750. His descendants
moved onto South Carolina, Georgia, and Illinois where H. L. Hunt Sr.
prospered as a farmer. His
son H. L. Hunt Jr, born there in 1889, was the famous Texas oil tycoon. He had fifteen children by three wives. Two of them – Nelson and Lamar – became
famous in their own right.

Canada. In 1832 John Hunt and his
wife Latetia
from Ireland were one of the first settlers of
Fitzroy township, Ontario. The Hunts stayed in Fitzroy and, one
hundred years later, celebrated
their centennary there.

Charles Hunt, who had fought in the Crimean War, was a later settler
from England. He arrived in 1863, settled in Rydal Bank Ontario,
married and raised seven children there. The town of Huntsville
Ontario is probably named after George Hunt who arrived with his
family there in 1869.

Australia. Henry Hunt was
an early arrival, having been transported from England to Tasmania in
1829. After obtaining his conditional release he lived on in Tasmania
to the ripe old age of eighty nine, dying there in 1901.

George and Elizabeth Hunt from Northamptonshire arrived in South
Australia with their family in 1853. They settled in the Magill
area of Adelaide. Also coming to South Australia were two
brothers, William and Henry from the East End of London, who arrived in
1861. Thomas was a sheep-grazier in Kalangadoo.

Hunt Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:

Hunt Names

Leigh Hunt was an early 19th century English critic and
essayist, a contemporary of Keats and Shelley.
William Holman Hunt was an
English Victorian painter, one of the founding members of the
Pre-Raphaelite movement.
H.L. Hunt was an American oil
tycoon and the forebear of a formidable Hunt family of the 20th century
– including, most prominently, Nelson Bunker Hunt, the oil developer
and speculator, and Lamar Hunt, the co-founder of the American Football
Howard Hunt was the
crime writer and CIA intelligence officer who became embroiled in the
Watergate scandal.
James Hunt was the British
racing car driver who won the Formula One world championship in 1976.

Select Hunts Today

  • 66,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Lancashire)
  • 49,000 in America (most numerous in California)
  • 40,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)






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