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About the study
While researching my own family tree I came across one line which led back through 9 generations of Cliffords and Comforts dwelling in Surrey to Jane Hulbert daughter of Richard, who was described as a gentleman and former owner of Imber Court in Wiltshire. I was intrigued as this was the first gent I had found in my family and when I traced back to his family in Wiltshire I became fascinated by the family and the extraordinary concentration of Hulbert families in Corsham.
Several people have traced Hulbert family trees and left their papers for posterity but there are apparent errors in all of them, particularly one of American Hulberts by Henry Carlton Hulbert which was part authored by the notorious forger Gustav Anjou.
- to link together into family lines as many as possible of the Hulberts of Wiltshire, particularly of Corsham.
- to correct errors in previously published research on the Hulberts of England and USA.
- to collect information on Hulberts in the rest of the world.
Hulbard/Hulberd/Hulburd seems to be an early form which had mostly been superceded by Hulbert by 1600.
Most researchers have treated Hulbert/Hulberd and Hurlbutt/Hurlbatt as variants of the same name but, at least in the UK, I have found no conclusive evidence for the names being interchangeable. There is some evidence of a few Hurlbutt families changing their name to Hulbert in the eighteenth century.
The newly published Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland suggests that:
Hulbert (and variants) is a "relationship name from the Middle English given name Holbert, probably from an unrecorded Old English form Holdbeohrt"
Hurlbatt (and variants) is a "nickname from a medieval game called Hurlebatte"
Halbert can be a Scottish variant of Hulbert or a "Huguenot relationship name from the French personal name Halbert (Continental Germanic Halbehrt)"
It is interesting that DNA results so far suggest that there are two separate lines in the USA descended from two immigrants around 1630 Thomas Hurlbut and William Hulbert.
History of the name
William Hulberd, 1512 to 1559, of Poulshot in Wiltshire was claimed to have been have been a doctor of divinity and chamberlain to King Edward 6th (in a pedigree drawn up about 85 years after his death by a great-grandson). He did take a BA and MA at Oxford University but I have found no other corroborative evidence.
William's son James became a wealthy clothier of Corsham and married Ann Smith a niece of Thomas Smith, Customer of England.
Another William Hulbert was Customer Inwards for the Port of Bristol for 10-12 years from c. 1583. It is likely that this was the eldest son of William above but I have not found definite proof.
George Hulbert, born at Lacock Wiltshire in 1590, joined the London Livery Company of Vintners and became a Justice of the Peace and Colonel of Militia in the city of Westminster where he died in 1639. He founded a charity to buy bread for the poor of Lacock and was granted his own coat of Arms by the College of Heralds.
James Hulbert, of the city of London 1651 to 1719, became Master of the Fishmongers Company and left money to build a set of almshouses for 20 poor men and women. A statue was erected in his memory. James was a great-grandson of James above.
Jack Hulbert, 1892 to 1978, and his wife Cicely Courtneidge were well known actors on stage and screen in the 1930s. In 1934 he was voted the most popular male British star at the box office.
Distribution of the name
Hulbert baptisms in Wiltshire 1580 to 1600 and 1780 to 1800
(from Wiltshire Baptisms 1530-1886 on findmypast.co.uk)
|Rest of Wiltshire||20||106|
Number of Hulberts in censuses (from ancestry.co.uk)
|Rest of England||162||343||542|
There is a Hulbert/Hurlbut group project on familytreeDNA.com.