Articles of Interest 


Huff/Hough/Hoff /Haff/etc Researchers

(Last Updated on 7-24-2003)

Volume I: The Huff/Hough/Hoff Newsletter. The first six issues, beginning in late December, 1992; include subscriber lists, and a number of subscriber queries. Some issues addressed are no longer relevant, such as what to look for in buying a computer; but the majority of articles are purely genealogical. Volumes 1 through 6 are still available as reprints (see Subscription page).

Huff/Hough/Hoff family groups in the West Branch Valley of PA This is a project I began several years ago. While researching my own Huff line in PA, I noticed a disproportionate number of Huff/Hoff/Hough families clustered in a relatively small area in the central portion of the state. To be more exact, they were concentrated along a stretch of the West Branch of the Susquehanna River, a area commonly called the West Branch Valley. The first recorded mention was Edmund Huff, in 1768, building a cabin near present-day Milesburg. By 1790, there were five Huff families and by 1800 there were eight. Given that there were a relatively small number of Huff families in the U.S. at that time, it is my opinion that most - if not all - the families along the West Branch were related. This project is an attempt to sort out the family groups and the family lines from those families. I have undertaken to do this by working on those who have a common First Name - such as Benjamin - and try to define their family lines. After that, I picked another common First Name - such as William - and did the same. The hope is to identify the complete family lines. What you see here are the results so far - with the help of Rick Huff and Allys Huff. Note that there are several that are unfinished. You are welcome to comment, correct, or add to the data.

Census Data for Certain Counties in the West Branch Valley of PA I compiled this list from the Counties that surround the West Branch Valley as the primary source of data for the above project. It lists those families with our Surnames in those Counties from 1780 through 1880. I believe it is complete and accurate for the Counties and the townships listed. I used the spellings of Surnames as they were listed in the census. I do know however, that some Huff and Hough were interchanged by the enumerators. Again, all comments, corrections, and additions are welcome.

The Life and Times of Edmund Huff, of PA (1757-1810). Edmund lived in PA during the great expansion from a few counties in the east to the State as it exists today.  He was a pioneer and adventurer, pushing the frontier farther west - sometimes before it was legal.  He is very well documented, in that he is listed in more than forty land, tax and court records; yet he is one of the most elusive.  His origins are yet undiscovered, as is his ethnic background. His descendants said he was German, yet he spent most of his life among the Scotch-Irish who pioneered and settled Central PA. His name was frequently misspelled as Edward, and Hof or Hoff.  He was a "Keeper of Stills" (an early moon shiner) and a member of the "Fair Play Men" of the West Branch Valley who established their own brand of Law and Order beyond the frontier. He almost certainly was not an immigrant, as he knew very well how to use the system and to get the most out of it.  He was able to obtain numerous Land Grants and Warrants. Consequently, he often appeared in Court, over a loan or a land transaction.  He was my g-g-g-grandfather.

Origins of Hough/Huff in England. There is sometimes great confusion over the origin and the spelling of our surnames. Some early immigrants were not literate, or at least not in English,  and adopted the spelling from their immigration papers- as interpreted by an english-speaking official.  Thus, non-English speaking immigrants wound up with spellings far different from that of their birth. The English Hough/Huff immigrants did not have the same problem of phonetic spelling of their surnames.  This short paper deals with the origins of the name in England and the early immigrants to America.