HULSE Family Network
HULSE Family Network


Fourth Draft




This is a draft of a working paper intended only to aid in further research. Do NOT repeat NOT accept anything contained within without further proof.




This article represents a listing of 70-plus "Hulse" immigrants that we have been able to identify as of October 1995. For the purpose of this listing, we are using the surname Hulse in the "generic" sense, which is to say in general context this means "by any spelling; but the person, or some of his descendants, is identifiable as this "family." For this reason you will find in these records such diverse persons as Richard Hulse of England and Long Island whose hundreds of descendants generally used only the surname Hulse and probably Hulce; and Johannes Holsaert from Sluys, Holland, and New York City whose equally large family spelled their surnames as variously as Hulse, Huls, Hults, Hultz, Holsaert, Holsaart and Hulseheart. The common thread is that the surname Hulse, Huls or Hulses was used either by the immigrant, or by some portion of his descendants.


This article does not include those families that we have not been able to trace back to a proven immigrant ancestor. It is hoped that by listing the known immigrants, the placing of these latter lines will be made easier.


At first it was thought that the surname Hulse was strictly of English origin, but research has proven this wrong. We have found that the surname Hulse, spelled as such, is also of German, Dutch, and possibly Irish and Scottish origin. On the other hand, the surname Hulses presently appears to be only from Germany, while Huls families have immigrated from both Germany and Belgium.


Most of the German families we have traced used Huls, but there are seven German families that used Hulse (plus one who used Hulses) on their arrival. According to the German dictionary of surnames, Hulse and Huls (both with and without the umlaut above the "u") all derive from a plant "thistle", that grows in swampy areas. The names are found in Germany in the region of Niederrhein, the country along the river Rhine, bordering on Holland. There are four towns name Huls - two in the north, and two in the Rhineland. For years, everyone has been telling us that Hulse meant "wood" in German. "Holz" means "wood" in German. Don't change the "u" to an "o". "Hug" is not a modern version of "hog", and apparently the German Hulse, with the "u" has nothing to do with "wood", but is a good old German Rhineland swamp thistle of the "carlina vulgaris" variety. My German dictionary says that Hulse also means "hull", "husk", and "cartridge".


The Hulse surname in England is an old one and its source is obscure. A Hulse, who we knew in England, said that his family came from the Shetland Islands. I suspect that Hulse has no central point of origin even though there is a hamlet of "Hulse" in Cheshire. The History of Kent mentions the Manor of Lovelace passing into the hands of Richard Hulse who was traced in the same article back to Sir Hugh Hulse, of the Hulse in the County of Chester. He was knighted by King Henry I for his bravery in the overthrow of the Welsh in 1157. Another article says that it may be the possessive plural of Hull, or Hulle, a surname variously said to mean "a dweller by a holly-tree," "a dweller at a hill," from the Middle English hull (hill).


The most common spelling variations we have found in this country seems to be HULSE, HULCE, HULCEE, HULS, HULTS or HULTZ. Known American Hulse families, however, have turned up, in one record or the other, under all of the following: HALSE, HULAE, HULCE, HULER, HULLS, HULS, HULSE, HULSEY, HULST, HULTE, HULTTS, HULTS, HULTZ, HULX, and HUTTS. The above menagerie of names does not imply that we should now track all Hulls (or Hulsey's for that matter, as they are a separate Clan and are well documented). What it does imply, is that when you can't find James and Catherine under Hulse, before you hand back the film or file, don't forget to also check under Halse, Hulae, Hulce, etc. (and Hulsart, or Hulseheart if you are searching for one of Johannes Holsaert's descendants.) You must remember that many of our ancestors were probably illiterate, and the census taker not too many steps above, so the latter spelled the name like he heard it. Also in some cases the indexer may have "misread" the spelling, though often it is correctly indexed exactly as the census taker seems to have spelled the name. Bearing the surname Hulse, I can testify to the variety of ways I have heard my name pronounced. If I want them to remember me, I generally tell them that it rhymes with "pulse." If I don't care, they will go away firmly believing that they have been introduced to "Mr. Ulcy." All of this is to say that in your search of records, don't give up if you don't find Hulse, or Huls. Be creative.


For the actual surname Hulse, Huls and Hulses there is no cut off date for collecting data on those families. Regardless of when they came to these shores they are being recorded. For the variations, however, there must be a cut off date. The 1900 census of Iowa, as one example, shows any number of late 1800 emigres bearing the surname of Hulst, Hults, and Hultz. Unless there is a proven subsequent change to the use of the surname Hulse, these must of necessity be excluded from our search. Also exempted are those emigres bearing a similar surname beginning with the letters "Ha---" (Halse), "Ho---" (Holse), or ending in "y" (Halsey, Hulsey).

Before I end this introduction let me say a few words about the Hulse Coat of Arms. "Argent, three piles sable, one in chief, the others reversed in base." Unless you can show a direct link with Sir Edward Westrow Hulse of Breamore, Hants, you have no claim to these Arms; and since none of his family has ever immigrated to America, don't waste your money on anything anyone will try to sell you with this design. We have yet to find any other Hulse coat of arms anywhere in Europe. We do have a coat of arms "By the name of Ulshart", but The American College of Heraldry could not find it in any of their records, and were also unable to find Arms listed for any families by the name of Ulshart or Holsaert in England or on the Continent. If you want a coat of arms, be creative and make your own. At least it will be yours.


Finally, the Hulse Family Network, despite the large amount of material already collected, has barely scratched the surface in our research. For some families, we have given only a brief introduction to the first generation or two, but even a casual review will quickly show that very little is known about most of them. PLEASE—if any reader can expand on any of these families, large or small, contact the editor:


We would like to make this as complete a record of known Hulse immigrants as is possible.