Make your own free website on Tripod.com

Appendix 6 -- Notes on the Hovey Name and Crest

"The name of 'Hove,' accented on the terminal syllable, is found in France, Holland, Norway and Sweden. So strongly was the late Rev. George L. Hovey, of Bricksburg, N.J., convinced of the identity of this name with his own, as to cause him to change the pronunciation accordingly. His theory was that the 'y' was added to prevent the English name from being sounded as one syllable. This was also the theory of Gen. Charles E. Hovey, of Washington, D.C., and Prof. E. O. Hovey, of Newark, N.J.(1) The learned linguist, Dr. J. D. Butler, of Madison, Wisconsin, derived our name from the Anglo-Saxon words, 'Hof,' meaning a walled place, and the suffix 'ey,' meaning an island; the 'f' being changed to 'v' for euphony; the combination meaning 'a walled island.'

"In my memoir of Daniel Hovey, published in 1900, another conjecture was offered, on the ground that 'f' and 'v' are often interchangeable; e. g. in the words 'save' and 'safe,' 'calf' and 'calve,' 'half' and 'halve,' and in such proper names as 'Farnam' and 'Varnam.' Possibly the 'Hovey' of colonial days was identical with the 'Hoffe' so frequently found in our early annals, and which Trumbull assumes to be the same as Goffe. Agawam (Ipswich) was settled in 1633 by John Winthrop, Jr., and twelve men, 'the rest to be supplied at the coming of the next ships.' The largest of these was the Griffin, on which Mr. Hoffe was a passenger. Winthrop's letters show that Hoffe and Goffe were not identical. In 1635, Winthrop, Dummer and Hoffe were chosen as assistants to Governor Haynes; and in 1637 Hoffe is again mentioned along with Dummer, Saltonstall and Wheelwright. It was in 1637 that the name Hovey first appears in the records of Ipswich. Later Hovey's warf is described as Hoffe's warf. These facts may not amount to proofs, but are worth considering.

"Our colonial sires were not exact spellers, and varied from Hovey to Hovy, Hovie, Houey, etc. Mr. W. H. Ricker, an officer of our Association, when in England, in 1910, gave this question some attention. The rector of Waltham Abbey, Rev. J. M. Stamp, suggested that the original name may have been 'Tovi,' dating back to the great Danish thane, Ralph de Tovi, the royal standard bearer at whose wedding feast Hardicanute died, and on whose land the famous Holy Cross was found which he brought to Waltham and reared on a church built for its reception. Giving this idea for what it may be worth, we are further assured by Mr. Ricker that he had the satisfaction of seeing in the Waltham Abbey vestment room the name of 'Hovey,' thus spelled, 'in bold, clear Saxon letters,' thus proving that our own way is not an American innovation. But he also says that 'there is no place yet known, except at Waltham, where the name was spelled 'Hovey' prior to 1590; but 'Houfe' was common in the older Waltham MSS., and elsewhere. There was one Richard Houfe in Lincolnshire in 1329, and another Houfe was buried in Westminster Abbey. The names of Houfe, Huffe and Huffee are found in English history.'" (The Hovey Book, pg. XIII)

According to the scholar Elsdon C. Smith, the surname Hovey is ultimately of French origin, having been introduced into England by French settlers. It is toponymic in origin, denoting "one who came from Havys", the name of a place in the Ardennes. This toponym appears in records from the ninth century as Elaviacum, derived from the Gaulic personal name Elavus and the local suffix "acum" meaning "homestead". In time, the initial "El" was lost and in England it became anglicized to Hovey, Hovy and Hovie. This surname is also found in Holland and Flanders and thus it is also possible that it was brought to England by Dutch or Flemish immigrants. In the Middle Ages, there was considerable commercial intercourse between England and the Netherlands, particularly in the woolen industry, and many Dutch and Flemish weavers, dyers and merchants settled in England. (The Historical Research Center, Inc.)

"Our attempts to find an authentic coat of arms were too successful. We found too many coats; enough for a wardrobe. We assume that Daniel Hovey himself had none, or he would have used it. Evidently different branches of the family have exercised their right to adopt, or manufacture, armorial bearings to suit themselves. In this they simply followed the example already set by the American families of Adams, Franklin, Hancock and Paul Revere -- none of which had any patent from Royalty, or grant from any College of Heraldry, but devised their own coats of arms. It is our impression that George Washington did the same.

"At the outset we agreed to use, and have habitually done so, the crest of the English Hovey Family, namely, a hand holding a pen, with a scroll underneath, bearing the legend "Hinc Orior" (by this I rise); not inappropriate in view of the literary character of many of the family. In 1902 it was agreed to adopt a combination of two or more coats of arms known to have been granted to foreign branches of the Hovey Family as heraldic authority. But after all this composite design did not please us, and in 1903 it was voted to postpone the vexed subject indefinitely. In 1910 it was suggested that, unless serious objection was offered, we should make use of the duly recognized English coat of arms, honestly stating it to be such. It appeals to us more than any one of the five or more American coats of arms, whose history we have thus far been unable to verify." (The Hovey Book, pg. VIII)

(See main page for a rendition of this Hovey Family Crest)

1. The fact is worth noting that the traditional original form of our family name, Hove, is given to a municipal borough of Sussex, England, with a population of about 37,000 souls, and an area of 1521 acres. It boasts a mayor, 10 aldermen and 30 councillors, and within its bounds is located the Sussex county cricket-ground. Although the parish of Hove is ancient, the incorporation of the borough only dates to 1898. (This footnote from 1914)