Pugh Surname Genealogy

Pugh is Welsh and derived from the Welsh patronymic ap Hugh (son of Hugh), Hugh being a male personal name
that had been introduced
by the Normans. As Welsh patronymics
faded in the 17th century, ap Hugh contracted
to Puw and Pugh of an English-style surname

Pugh Resources on

Pugh Ancestry

The Welsh patronymic ap Hugh often led
to the Hughes surname. For instance
William ap Hugh in Anglesey left
legacies in his will of 1665 to his son Hugh and Henry Hughes. But the resulting surname in north Wales and
in Welsh counties bordering England, could also be Puw or Pugh.

Wales. The Puw family was a Catholic
recusant family at Penrhyn Hall of Creuddyn in Caernarfonshire dating
from the 1500’s
and probably earlier. Robert Puw, born in
the mid-1500’s, was the son of Huw ap Reinallt ap Ieuan
of Penrhyn

“When the Earl of Pembroke
began his onslaught
on the
Roman Catholics
in 1586, Robert Puw and
his family
were in hiding in
the Rhiwledyn cave in the Little Orme headland for
three quarters of a year. There they
a printing press and were engaged in printing the Roman Catholic tract

years of wandering Robert Puw was thrown into prison, but was allowed
to return
to his home at Creuddyn in 1607. His son
Philip was also Catholic, as were his many grandsons.
Fearing renewed persecution Gruffydd departed
for Ireland, Herbert to France and Ifan to Spain. Gwilym
fought on the Royalist side in the Civil
War, afterwards joined the Benedictine Order in France, and later
settled in

Another line began with Evan
, born near Aberystwyth in 1678 and the builder of the
Devils Bridge
over the Rheidol Gorge. His line
extended to Humphrey Pugh of Penygraig at Llanbadarn Fawr and his
Lewis Pugh who made a fortune after he had purchased the nearby Copa
copper mine in 1834. Granny
Pugh’s Journal
, produced by
Christopher Evans in 2003, was the journal kept by Lewis’s wife

Mid Wales. The Pugh family at
in Montgomeryshire dated back to the 15th century and
earlier. Rowland Pugh was a Royalist at
the time of the Civil War and had his home burned down.
The male line here died out in 1752. One branch of the family adopted the Pughe spelling. Richard Pughe was an apothecary at
Machynlleth in the 1780’s.

The Pughs
at Llanerchyol Hall near Welshpool were unrelated.
Charles Pugh built the house in 1776 and it
remained in the family until 1912. His
son David was a wealthy tea trader.

Later Pughs. Welsh Pughs
in the 1881 census
were spread between North and Mid
Wales, with a number also in South Wales as the Welsh population
southward. Pugh concentrations were to
be found at Dolgellau in Merionethshire and Bedwellty in Monmouthshire.

The Pugh name extended across the border into
England. The largest numbers in the 1881
census were in Shropshire. One early
line there began with the birth of John Pugh in Shrewsbury in 1616. Walter Pugh was born at Bishop’s Castle on
the Welsh border in 1767; while Thomas Pugh
was born at Stottesdon near Cleobury Mortimer around 1790.

Other Pughs living in western England at this time were:

  • Edward Pugh from Radnorshire who married and
    settled down in Birley, Herefordshire in the 1740’s
  • Joseph Pugh, born around 1774, who married
    Esther Wilding in Wolverhampton in 1803
  • and John Pugh, born around 1785, who married Sarah
    Munslow in Worcester
    in 1809.

Ireland. Pughs
were in county Mayo, at Straheen and
Lissadrone, possibly by the late 1600’s. According
to family lore they were Huguenots
from France, originally DuPuy, who adopted the Pugh spelling. Arthur Pugh of Lissadrone died in 1845, aged
57, without male heirs. However, other
Pughs of this family were to be found in Mayo and Sligo.

Pughs came first to Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Pennsylvania. The early
Pughs in Pennsylvania
from Merionethshire in Wales, arrived in
the 1680’s
and 1690’s. The most prominent of these
arrivals was Ellis Pugh, a Quaker minister who came in 1688
strong recommendations from Friends back in Wales:

is a man whom we dearly love and esteem and is greatly beloved by all
good, rational people in his neighborhood.
Though young in years he is yet grown in the truth so far that
we have
been wonderfully refreshed by his sweet declarations in our British

His life and ancestry were recorded in George Griffiths’ 1975 book
Ellis Pugh, Quaker in Wales and

There is a family tradition that sometime in the
1750’s Lieutenant Jonathan, son of Evan Pugh of the Welsh settlement in
helped to build the first Episcopal church in Capon Valley (now part of
Hampshire county in West Virginia). There
were seven male Pughs recorded at Capon in the 1790 census. The story of this settlement was recounted in
Maud Pugh’s two-volume book Capon Valley:
Its Pioneers and Descendants
published in 1948.

John Pugh from Capon Valley
was said to have departed for North Carolina around 1760 to escape the
wars which were devastating the area. It
thought that the Pughs of
Burke county, Georgia were descended from him. James
L. Pugh, born there in 1820, moved to Alabama when he was
a little
boy but lost both his parents by the time he was ten.
Nevertheless he rose to become the US Senator
for Alabama, from 1880 to 1897. His son
James, who died in 1938, was a Pennsylvania court judge.

Other Pughs of this
line migrated to Ohio in the early 1800’s.

Virginia. Francis
Pugh was said to have grown up in Glendower Hall in
Caernarfonshire and to have come with two brothers, Thomas and Daniel,
Virginia in 1666. His son Francis
married Pheribee Savage and moved to North Carolina – first to Chowan
and then to Bertie county – before his death in 1733.

In 1818 three
Pugh brothers – William, Alexander and Thomas – left Bertie county for
Louisiana where they started sugar plantations.
The Madewood
plantation house
, now a National Historic Landmark, was the
manor house for
the group of plantations owned by the family in the 1830’s and 1840’s. At the onset of the Civil War they owned 18
plantations and 1,500 slaves in the vicinity of Napoleonville.

Pughs were considered leaders of their group in the whole state.
They were millionaires for their day, a lot of them. They were
into sugar
farming. They had sugar houses and that’s the way they made their
money. There was not too much debate about
until perhaps just before the Civil War, because it was just an
accepted fact

And Pew?
Pew name was not that
common in either England or
Wales. It could have been a corruption
of the Pugh name in America. Or it might
have had a French Huguenot DuPuy origin.

An early citing of the name was Henry Pew who married Jane Milner in
Henrico county, Virginia in 1660.
Then John Pew married Susanna Whitlock in Monmouth county, New Jersey
around the year 1700; and William Pew lived in Roxbury township, New
Jersey in
the mid-1700’s. His son Dan was a spy in
Washington’s army during the Revolutionary War.
There were Pews also in Pennsylvania.

“On the first day of May 1797, John Pew with his wife and
four children
arrived on the ground where Mercer now stands and built his log cabin
near the
present McDonald Spring. They came from
Washington county, Pennsylvania.”

These Pews of Mercer county were the forebears of
Joseph Newton Pew, the man who struck it rich in the 1880’s oil boom
founded the Sun Oil Company

Pugh from Wales arrived in Nova Scotia sometime in the 1840’s and
settled to
farm at Westport on Brier Island at the mouth of the Bay of Fundy. Pughs have remained there.

Among the early settlers in Pickering near Toronto
were Hugh and Elizabeth Pugh from Radnor who arrived in 1842. Pughs are still living in the Claremont
community there. Thomas Pugh from
Llanbadarn Fawr near Radnorshire came in the 1850’s.

. Hugh Pugh, a carpenter from
Dolgellau, departed with his family for the Welsh colony in Patagonia
in 1881. He ran a hotel in Gaiman.

and New Zealand. Edward Pugh, born
in Shropshire, was a First Fleeter, a convict transported to Australia
on the Friendship in 1788. He
died a pauper in 1837. Thomas Pugh, also
from Shropshire, arrived
with his family as assisted immigrants on the Corona
in 1877. They settled
in Glen Innes, NSW where Thomas died in 1927 at the age of 86.

William Pugh, another from Shropshire, came
to New Zealand in the 1850’s, later detouring to the Victorian
before returning to Picton on South Island where he and his sons were
in the building trade.

Pugh Miscellany

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

Pugh Names

Gwilym Puw, sometimes anglicized as William Pugh, was a Welsh poet from a Catholic family and a Royalist officer during
the English
Civil War.

Ellis Pugh
the Quaker minister who emigrated to
Pennsylvania in 1688, had published the first Welsh book printed in
in 1721.

James Pugh

served as the US Senator for Alabama from 1880 to 1897.

Virginia Pugh
, better
known as Tammy Wynette, was considered the first lady of country music
during the
height of her fame in the 1970’s

Select Pughs Today

  • 23,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Glamorgan)
  • 15,000 in America (most numerous in Pennsylvania)
  • 7,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)



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