The name Hubert is English but finds its origins in Germany. It is not uncommon to find names, which for centuries have been claimed by the citizens of one country which found their origins in another. In the case of the name Hubert, it is believed to have migrated with the Norsemen during the Viking age. The name is considered patronymic, as it is thought to have derived from the ancient Germanic or Norse given names Hugibert or Hubbert. Both names are compound words which can be broken down to the prefixes of “hug” or “hubb” both translating to mean; “mind”, “heart”, or “spirit” and the sufix “bert” which translates to “bright”.
Historically surnames had various sources of origins. Some people may have been identified by their given name plus their occupation while others may have been identified by their given name and one of their parent's names. There was an endless supply from which surnames were culled, in addition to the use of patriarchal or matriarchal names or reference to the individuals occupation, there were things such as defining physical traits, a familiar geographical location or a topographical landmark found near the individuals home or birthplace, the name of the village in which the person lived, and much more.
The use of surnames; however, did not become a common practice among the general population until the mid-sixteenth century. Until this time, surnames were generally reserved solely for the noble class. The use of surnames were found to serve a practical purposes, aside from making the distinction between people with like given names easier, it also allowed governments to more effectively track people for census, tax and immigration purposes.
The task of record keeping was primarily under the jurisdiction of the Church, local priories, and the government. This was due in large part to the fact that literacy was a skill usually found only among the nobles, the clergy, and government officials and scribes. Even so, there often existed multiple variations of names which may be attributed to a number of factors; the origins of the surname, the lack of guidelines which existed for spelling, and the fact that many scribes who were charged with record keeping spelled phonetically, among other things. One of the earliest records of anyone bearing the surname or any variation of its spelling is that of Roger Hubert which appears in the Northumberland “Pipe Rolls” from 1199. The Pipe Rolls, often times called the “Great Rolls”, were a series of financial records kept by the English Treasury by order of King Richard, with the oldest dating back seven hundred years to the 12th century. They hold the distinction of being the oldest consecutive set of records detailing English governance in the United Kingdom. Some other early variations of the name include; Hubert; Hibart; Hubbert; Hibbard; Hubbard: Hibbet and Hibbett among others.
Some of the first recorded immigrants to America bearing the surname were Adrian Hubert who arrived in 1650 and settled in New York. Simon Hubert arrived in 1661 and settled in Maryland and Denis Hubert landed in 1670 and settled in Maryland as well. There were also immigrants to the British Commonwealth countries of Canada, Australia, and New Zealand bearing the surname Pepper. Nicolas Hubert was one of the earliest settlers to Canada, arriving in 1654, he settled in Montreal.
Worldwide, the highest concentration of people with the surname Hubert are found in France, Belgium, Hungary, Germany, and Canada. By state, the largest percentile of those with the surname Hubert live in Connecticut, Georgia, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and New York.
There are many persons of note who bear the surname such as French born physician and diplomat, Etienne Hubert of Orleans. Henri IV of France sent Hubert to Morocco in 1598 as an envoy, while there he became the court physician to the Sultan of Morocco, Ahmad ak-Mansur. It was also during this period he became fluent in Arabic, allowing him to research and translate ancient Arabic medical text.
French born Henri Hubert was a sociologist of comparative religion and an archaeologist. Much of his life's work was spent researching the history of various religions. He eventually developed a keen interest in the Celts which led him to write several books about Celtic history, culture, and religious practices prior to the introduction of Christianity.