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2,405 study surnames with us
and a further 6,120 variant names.

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About the study

The HEMBROUGH One-Name Genealogical Study began in 2009 as a result of tracing my great-great-grand-mother Hannah HEMBROFF. Her father's name was Joseph HEMBROUGH aka HEMINGBROUGH. This and other factors piqued my interest. The study was listed with the Guild of One-Name Studies in January 2010.

Variant names

HEMBROUGH is the most common form of the name in the British Isles, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. HEMINGBROUGH and HEMBOROUGH are demonstrably related and possibly older forms. Both HEMINGBROUGH and HEMBOROUGH are interchangeable with HEMBROUGH but not with each other. Both longer forms trend toward HEMBROUGH over time. HEMBROFF and HEMBRUFF are North American variants that first appeared in 19th Century Canada.

Name origin

The HEMBROUGH name is locative--named for a place. Church parish records from the village of Hemingbrough in Yorkshire have several references to the surname HEMINGBROUGH. Nearby districts of Selby, Goole and Hull carried the heaviest concentration of both HEMBROUGHs and HEMINGBROUGHs in the 1841 UK Census.

The village Hemingbrough dates from Roman times. It was a high spot on the north bank of the Humber River. The word 'brough' means fort. Heming may come from a Norse man or tribe of the Early Middle Ages.

It is possible that HEMBOROUGH has a separate origin.

Historical occurrences of the name

Hemingbrough appears as 'Hamiburg' in the Domesday survey and book (1068, 1088). The earliest form of the surname appears to have been 'de Hemyngburgh'. The 12th Century Collegiate Church of St Mary's (pictured) has served nearby communities for 800 years. Its high spire visible for miles, the church served as a monastic training center.

-Walter Hemingburgh, 14th century author of THE CHRONICLES OF ENGLAND.

-Robert de Hemingburgh, Keeper of the Rolls and of the Chancery of Ireland under Edward III.

-John de Hemingburgh, born about 1327-28, educated at Hemingbrough Minster, professing monk for 66 years, prior of Durham, 1391-1416.

-John Hembrough, 1785-1868, early settler of Morgan County, Illinois, USA, arriving in 1829.

-Herbert Hembruff, General Secretary of YMCA (USA), 1945-52.

-Josh Hembrough, world-class hurdler for Purdue University, United States. Deaflympic World Record holder for 110-meter hurdles (14.16 sec), set at Taipei, Taiwan. Top scorer at Purdue in 60- and 110-meter hurdles. Named Academic All-Big Ten. Now a health education teacher.

-Jordan Hembrough, host of the Toy Hunter show, collector of toys and comic books.

Name frequency


The following census data show the combined occurrences of these surnames:

UNITED KINGDOM 1841 - 177; 1851 - 173; 1861 - 203; 1871 - 170; 1881 - 165; 1891 - 187; 1901 - 206; 1911 - 238

CANADA 1851 - 17; 1861 - 19; 1871 - 26; 1881 - 8; 1891 - 45; 1901 - 52; 1911 - 15

UNITED STATES 1850 - 15; 1860 - 11; 1870 - 30; 1880 - 34; 1900 - 135; 1910 - 176; 1920 - 218; 1930 - 178



Births, 1837-2006: HEMBOROUGH, 85; HEMBROUGH, 597; HEMINGBROUGH, 176
Marriages, 1837-2005: HEMBOROUGH, 60; HEMBROUGH, 409; HEMINGBROUGH, 121
Deaths, 1837-2006: HEMBOROUGH, 86; HEMBROUGH, 473; HEMINGBROUGH, 87


HEMBROUGH: Births, 1788-1922, 10; Marriages, 1788-1949, 31; Deaths, 1787-1985, 9

Distribution of the name

HEMBROUGH is both the most widespread and the most common of the surnames. It is the only name consistently found in censuses for Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States. It also appears in Australia's indexed electoral roles. The UK's Office of National Statistics (UK ONS) counts 172 occurrences in 2002, giving it a ranking of 23492. The Frequently Occurring Surnames Study of the 1990 US Census ranks Hembrough 56754 place.

In the 1841 Census:

HEMBOROUGH: 14 of 21 total lived in Devonshire, of which 9 were in Tiverton

HEMBROUGH: 76 of 141 total lived in Yorkshire and 36 in Gloucestershire. Yorkshire residents were mostly in Hull (18), Selby (16) and Goole (12). 23 Gloucestershire residents lived in Clifton (Bristol).

HEMINGBROUGH: 11 of 15 lived in Selby, Yorkshire.

HEMINGBROUGH was found only in the United Kingdom. There were 73 occurrences of the name in the UK ONS study, yielding a ranking of 40305.

HEMBOROUGH is probably found only in the United Kingdom. The two occurrences in censuses of Canada and the US appeared anomalous. The UK ONS study found 49 occurrences, ranking it 51457.

HEMBROFF was found in Canada and the United States. All known bearers of the name were descendants of Joseph and Martha HEMBROUGH of Hemingbrough, Selby, UK, who emigrated to Canada about 1823.

HEMBRUFF, rarest of the variants, was found only in Canada, principally on Manitoulin Island, Ontario. Bearers of this name also were descendants of Joseph and Mary HEMBROUGH.


The census and birth-marriage-death data cited above is available to this study and is being processed. The 1841 UK Census (England, Scotland and Wales) has been uploaded to the Hembrough Archive page on this website. With respect to HEMBROUGH and related surnames, this 1841 archive is larger and more complete than any other online index. Other censuses will be uploaded as they become ready.


A DNA project is under-way. This tests the male Y chromosome for paternal lineage. Through DNA testing, it is possible to trace families back further than they can be traced through documents only. DNA testing may also help to establish the surnames' origin or origins. If origins are multiple, it may help to group families by their genotype. Men with a surname shown above or similar are encouraged to write for details.