Lucas Surname Meaning, History & Origin

Select Lucas Meaning

Lucas is a Latin personal name meaning “man from Lucania,” a region in
southern Italy. It owed its great popularity in medieval Europe
to St. Luke the Evangelist. It was also probably a Crusader

Lucas is a common surname in France and Spain, as well as in
England. Variations of the name are Luca in Italy, Luk and Lukas
in Germany, Lukas in Czech, Lukasz and Lukasik in Poland, and Lukovic
in Croatia.

Lucas Resources on

Lucas Ancestry

The main Lucas numbers today in Europe are:

  • in France, around 40,000, mainly to be found in Brittany
  • in Spain, around 30,000, with the largest numbers in Murcia in SE
  • in England, around 30,000, with a historical concentration in the
  • and in Germany (as Lukas), around 10,000.

In addition, the Lucas surname also occurs in Luxemburg.

Lucas held land at Westley near Bury St. Edmunds in
1180 and his descendants were aldermen and bailiffs at various times
during the 13th and 14th centuries. It
was Thomas Lucas of Saxham Hall who, under the patronage of the Duke of
rose to be Solicitor General to Henry VII in 1504.
Later Lucases from this family established
themselves at Colchester in Essex. Three Lucas brothers
John, Sir Charles, and Sir Thomas – fought on the Royalist side during
Civil War. These Lucases became the Lucases of Shenfield.

A Lucas
family originated in Hitchin in Hertfordshire where they can be traced
back to
the 16th century as maltsters and millers and later as brewers. They
were early
members of the Society of Friends (Quakers). Phebe Lucas, born
there in 1816,
wrote an account of her early life, entitled Phebe’s
Hitchin Book
. Her
elder brother Samuel was an enthusiastic painter.

A line of this family was to be found in the London outskirts,
Stapleton Hall in Hornsey and Upper Tooting. The
distinguished Victorian geologist Joseph
Lucas came from this family. Another line
was to be found in Sussex – with Edward Lucas, a
Southwick, and E.V. Lucas the writer.

also a Lucas Quaker family in Wandsworth, London.
Samuel Lucas was a Quaker corn merchant there
in the early 19th century. His sons
Samuel and Frederick were abolitionist campaigners.
Frederick converted to Catholicism.

By the late 19th century, the distribution of the Lucas surname formed
two clusters, one in the southeast around London and the second in the
northeast where the largest number was to be found in Lancashire.

Ireland. Two
Lucas lines in
Ireland were from England and came from Suffolk:

  • Benjamin
    Lucas arrived with Cromwell and was
    granted lands in Kings county (now Offaly). He
    built his Mount Lucas mansion there in
    1669. There was a line of this family at Loughburke
    in county
    included the anti-Catholic politician and pamphleteer Charles Lucas. Mount
    stayed with the Lucas family until 1922.
  • In 1683 Francis Lucas took possession of
    Castle Shane in county Monaghan. Subsequent
    Lucases of this family moved to county Cavan and
    emigrated in 1822 to Canada.

America. The first Lucas in America was probably Captain Thomas
Lucas who arrived from Surrey in 1641 and was one of the earliest
settlers in
Rappahannock county. He was a man of
some wealth as he left diamond rings and pearl necklaces in his will of
1673. Annabelle Kemp’s 1964 book Lucas Genealogy covered his and other
early Lucas lines in America.

Lucases in North Carolina included Charles Lucas
of Robeson county, John Lucas of Wayne county, and Lewis Lucas of
county. They probably had the same
forebears. Descendants of Charles Lucas
(as traced in Rev. Silas Lucas’s 1959 book The
Dotsons of SW Virginia
) later migrated to the southern
states. John Lucas was a patriot during the Revolutionary
War. Later Lucases of this line were Baptist and Methodist

Wiltshire came the Quaker Robert Lucas to Bucks county, Pennsylvania in
1679. His descendants moved to
Virginia. A later Robert Lucas, who
headed west to Ohio as a young man in the early 1800’s, rose to become
Governor of
that state and then of what was then Iowa territory.
He was known for his quick temper, almost
causing a war each time over boundary disputes with neighboring states.

The name
of Lucas ranks high in the early plantation history of South Carolina. John Lucas, a planter in the
Caribbean, had
bought land at Wappoo Creek near Charleston.
His grand-daughter Eliza took
over the plantation there in the late 1730’s and oversaw the
development of the
dye indigo
as a
cash crop. Meanwhile Jonathan
Lucas, the son of a wealthy English mill-owner in Cumberland, was a
arrival in Charleston in 1783. He was a
skilled millwright and over the years developed various rice mill
prototypes in
the area, culminating in his first steam-powered rice mill in 1817. His descendants still live in Charleston.

There were Lucases who came to America from other counties in

  • Daniel
    Lucas arrived in Philadelphia from the German Palatine in 1740 on
    the Lydia. He made his
    home in Schuykill county, Pennsylvania.
  • and Theodore Lucas who came to
    from Luxemburg on the Clifton in 1854
    and eventually settled in Illinois.

Canada. Andrew
and his family (including his brother John and uncle
James) emigrated to Canada from county Carlow in Ireland in 1815 on the
of a free land grant. They ended up in
Lanark county, Ontario. Andrew later
moved to Lambton county. He is reported
to have over 14,000 descendants.

Australia. Nathaniel
, a London carpenter, was transported to Australia on
the First
Fleet in
1788. He died of drink in 1818. In
1988 four
hundred descendants of Nathaniel and his wife Olivia
Gascoigne met for a reunion. Peter McKay’s 2004 book The Lucas Clan in Australia estimated
that there were in total 54,000 descendants of the couple.

Lucas was also
on the First Fleet


Lucas Miscellany

Lucas in Brittany.  The following are some early Lucas lines in Brittany, France.

Date Lucas Name Location
1615-1720 Lucas, Domagne Ille et Vilaine
1659-1788 Lucas, Botlezan Cotes d’Armor
1680 Lucas, Saint-Didier Ille et Vilaine
1742-1788 Lucas, Jaize Ille et Vilaine

There is an Auberge Lucas at Ille et Vilaine today.

Lucas Adventures During the Civil War.  In 1642 Sir John Lucas was preparing to go with a detachment of cavalry to assist the King in the north when he was
abused” by some of the Colchester inhabitants.
They plundered his house, desecrated the ashes of his ancestors
in St.
Giles’s church, and took him prisoner to London.  He
did obtain his release and fought for the
King in various battles and was granted the title of Lord Lucas of
Shenfield.  He lived on in Colchester
where he died in 1671.

younger brother Sir Charles Lucas was less fortunate.
He became one of the King’s best cavalry
commanders. However, he met his end
after the siege of Colchester in 1648.
His last words reportedly were: “See, I am ready for you.  Now, rebels, shoot!”  Pierced
by four bullets, he fell dead.

Twelve years later, in
1661, a funeral was solemnly celebrated by the town of Colchester and a
placed by his elder brother on his tomb, with an inscription stating
that he
was: “by the command of Sir Thomas Fairfax in cold blood barbarously

The Last of the Lucas Line at Mount Lucas.  Benjamin Lucas had built the Mount Lucas mansion in Offaly, Ireland around 1669 and
the house
stayed with the Lucas family until 1922.

Lucas Ball lived at Mount Lucas
with her aunt Eleanor Lucas before they moved following an attack on
house during the troubles.  Ann Smyth, a
cook in the house, witnessed the attack.
She said:

attackers entered the house, threatened the staff, and
locked them in a room before taking Deborah and Eleanor out of the
house.  They then set fire to a large room
at the rear of the house which had been used for entertaining.  When the staff escaped from the burning house
they found Miss Ball tied to a tree naked with her head shaved.”

Reader Feedback – Lucas from Donegal.  The
early  I have a George Lucas in my family tree who was born in
1812 and died in 1878 in Ardiganny, Donegal.  His father was
William Lucas who was listed as a farmer in Ardageney and was a Protestant householder there in 1766.  I wonder where my Lucas
family came from as it is not an Irish name, but my great grandmother
was born in Donegal.

Janice Donnelly in New Zealand (

Lucas at the Plantation – from John to Eliza.  The early Lucases in the Caribbean – John, a planter
in Antigua, and Thomas, a merchant in St. Kitts – were believed to be related
to the Royalist Lucases of Shenfield.
When the King was defeated by Cromwell and his troops, many
Royalists left England for this Caribbean fringe of Empire.  John Lucas had arrived in Antigua by the early
1680’s and was elected Speaker of the Antigua Assembly in 1695.  His son George was appointed Lieutenant Governor
of the colony in 1737.

around that time,
George had decided to relocate his family from Antigua to South
Carolina where
he had inherited three plantations from his father.  Unable
to leave Antigua, he left his daughter Eliza
in charge of affairs in South Carolina.  She
was just 16 years of age at the time.
She would record all her
decisions and experiments at the plantations by copying her letters in
a letter
book.  This letter book is one of the
most impressive collections of personal writings of an 18th century
woman and gives much insight into her mind and society at that time.

Antigua, her father would send Eliza
various types of seeds for trial on the plantations.  They
and other planters were eager to find
crops for the uplands that could supplement their cultivation of rice.  First, she experimented with ginger, cotton, and
alfalfa.  Starting in 1739, she began
experimenting with cultivating and improving the strains of the indigo
for which the growing market in textiles created a demand. After three long years of persistence and many
failed attempts, Eliza finally proved that the indigo dye could be
grown and processed in South Carolina.

her marriage to lawyer Charles Pinckney in 1744, she revived the
cultivation of
silkworms and
manufacture of silk on his plantation.  Widowed
at a young age, she continued to manage her extensive landholdings
until her death
in 1793.  President
George Washington was
a pallbearer at her funeral.  The
signature of one of her sons, Charles
Pinckney, is among those affixed to the U.S. Constitution.
He was also a Federalist Presidential
candidate.  Her other son, Thomas, served
as Governor of South Carolina and also as Ambassador to Britain.

The Death of Nathaniel Lucas.  First Fleeter Nathaniel Lucas had grown increasingly addicted
to alcohol in his later years.  And alcohol seems to have been the
cause of his death in Liverpool, NSW on April 28, 1818.  This was
how his death was recorded in the Sydney
of May 9, 1818.

Tuesday last the dead body of Mr. Nathaniel
Lucas, for many years known in this colony and at Norfolk Island as a
respectable builder, was found left by the tide at twenty yards
distance from
Moore Bridge in Liverpool.

catastrophe appears to have proceeded from his own act owing to a
derangement.  He had been six days absent
from his family at Liverpool on a pretext of going to Parramatta.
But his long absence, connected with other
circumstances that gave rise to apprehension, naturally induced his
sons to go
in quest of him.  The result of this was
that he was by one of his own sons found.”

Reader Feedback – Lucases on the First Fleet.  I noticed
that you have Nathaniel Lucas, a convict on the First Fleet to
Australia.  There was a Thomas Lucas on the First Fleet who was a Private.  He was a
settler at Norfolk Island and then Hobart.  His son Richard
Fawkner who was on the First Fleet to Sorrento and then Hobart.
brother was John Pascoe Fawkner who settled in Melbourne.  One of
descendants, Frederick Lucas, landed on Gallipoli on 25 April 1915.

Cath (samproud@bigpond)

Theodore Lucas – from Luxemburg to America.  What
drove Theodore Lucas to emigrate is not exactly known.

It may be that he wished to avoid
military conscription.  Because Luxemburg
was too small of a country to defend itself, Luxemburgers had to fight
foreign rulers. Many countrymen were not ready to risk their lives for
countries and emigrated to avoid the draft.

factor was the deteriorating economic picture.  The
harvests in the early 1850’s were
poor. Theodore’s father and grandfather
were both farm day laborers.  Their main
sources of nourishment were potatoes, bread, and milk.
Day laborers were fortunate when they could
afford to eat meat twice a week.

Theodore’s journey to America departed from the port
of Antwerp.  The fare was 80-100 francs
($16-20). Life on board the ship could
ugly.  Passengers were not always treated humanely.
Water was generally scarce and disease would
break out.  When the sea was rough, the
living conditions among the tightly packed travelers could be horrible.
voyage itself took 36 days.   He
arrived in
York aboard the Clifton on November
20, 1854.

was thought to have headed
straight for California, having heard stories about the gold rush.  A Theodore Lucas was recorded in the US
Census of 1860 as resident in Colusa, California.

later moved back East.  In 1863 he married
Margaret Beck and they
settled at a farm in Palos township, Illinois where they raised six
children.  By this time his father Pierre
had followed him to America and was also living in Palos.
Theodore died at his home there in 1887 at
the age of sixty.

Andrew Lucas, Canadian Immigrant from Ireland.  According to stories handed down, Andrew
was a small man (5 feet 9 inches tall) and never weighed over 145
pounds.  But despite his size he was a
strong man and
could carry an anvil weighing 14 stone (196 pounds) in each hand.  He was also an expert blacksmith and could
temper steel, and made all the tools, knives, axes etc. that were
needed and
even surgical instruments.

He was also a herbalist and often practiced as a
doctor.  This included doing surgical
operations as he had studied medicine for a few years in medical
college in
Dublin, although he did not graduate.  Since there was often no
doctor within
easy reach of some settlements and no roads leading to a doctor, he did
was necessary to help the sick or injured.

His daughter Elizabeth often told the
story of how she was in the yard milking her cow when she was bitten on
calf of her leg by a rabid dog and that her father took her into the
laid her on the table and using a scalpel, he cut away the wounded part
then applied his remedies. She never suffered any harmful effects,
either from
the dog bite or the operation.


Lucas Names

  • The Lucas brothers were prominent builders in Victorian England.
  • Paul Lukas was a Hungarian-born Hollywood actor of the 1930’s and 40’s.
  • Jerry Lucas was a Hall of Fame basketball player for the New York Knicks and other clubs.
  • George Lucas was the creator of the Star Wars and Indiana Jones series of films.

Select Lucas Numbers Today

  • 30,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Lancashire)
  • 36,000 in America (most numerous in California)
  • 18,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)


Select Lucas and Like Surnames

Some surnames have come from SE England, in particular the counties of Kent, Surrey and Sussex.  These are some of the noteworthy surnames that you can check out.





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