Select 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.

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Select Hunt Ancestry

England.  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 years.
  • 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 Hunt 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.   

.  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 Roscommon 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 1660s at his Grove farm in 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 in 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.

Select Hunt Miscellany

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

Select 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 League..
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)

PS.  You might want to check out the surnames page on this website.  It covers surname genealogy in this and companion websites for more than 800 surnames.

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