Select Lucas Surname Genealogy

Lucas is a Latin personal name meaning "man from Lucania," a region in southern Italy.  It owed its great popularity in medieval Europe to St. Luke the Evangelist.  It was also probably a Crusader name. 

Lucas is a common surname in France and Spain, as well as in England.  Variations of the name are Luca in Italy, Luk and Lukas in Germany, Lukas in Czech, Lukasz and Lukasik in Poland, and Lukovic in Croatia.   

Select Lucas Resources on The Internet

Select Lucas Ancestry

The main Lucas numbers today in Europe are:
  • in France, around 40,000, mainly to be found in Brittany
  • in Spain, around 30,000, with the largest numbers in Murcia in SE Spain
  • in England, around 30,000, with a historical concentration in the southeast
  • and in Germany (as Lukas), around 10,000.
In addition, the Lucas surname also occurs in Luxemburg.

EnglandLucas held land at Westley near Bury St. Edmunds in 1180 and his descendants were aldermen and bailiffs at various times there during the 13th and 14th centuries.  It was Thomas Lucas of Saxham Hall who, under the patronage of the Duke of Bedford, rose to be Solicitor General to Henry VII in 1504.  Later Lucases from this family established themselves at Colchester in Essex.  Three Lucas brothers – Sir John, Sir Charles, and Sir Thomas – fought on the Royalist side during the Civil War.  These Lucases became the Lucases of Shenfield.

A Lucas family originated in Hitchin in Hertfordshire where they can be traced back to the 16th century as maltsters and millers and later as brewers. They were early members of the Society of Friends (Quakers).  Phebe Lucas, born there in 1816, wrote an account of her early life, entitled Phebe’s Hitchin Book.  Her elder brother Samuel was an enthusiastic painter. 

A line of this family was to be found in the London outskirts, Stapleton Hall in Hornsey and Upper Tooting.  The distinguished Victorian geologist Joseph Lucas came from this family.  Another line was to be found in Sussex - with Edward Lucas, a shipowner in Southwick, and E.V. Lucas the writer. 

There was also a Lucas Quaker family in Wandsworth, London.  Samuel Lucas was a Quaker corn merchant there in the early 19th century.  His sons Samuel and Frederick were abolitionist campaigners.  Frederick converted to Catholicism.

By the late 19th century, the distribution of the Lucas surname formed two clusters, one in the southeast around London and the second in the northeast where the largest number was to be found in Lancashire.

Ireland.  Two Lucas lines in Ireland were from England and came from Suffolk:
  • Benjamin Lucas arrived with Cromwell and was granted lands in Kings county (now Offaly).  He built his Mount Lucas mansion there in 1669.  There was a line of this family at Loughburke in county Clare which included the anti-Catholic politician and pamphleteer Charles Lucas.  Mount Lucas stayed with the Lucas family until 1922. 
  • In 1683 Francis Lucas took possession of Castle Shane in county Monaghan.  Subsequent Lucases of this family moved to county Cavan and then emigrated in 1822 to Canada. 
America.  The first Lucas in America was probably Captain Thomas Lucas who arrived from Surrey in 1641 and was one of the earliest settlers in Rappahannock county.  He was a man of some wealth as he left diamond rings and pearl necklaces in his will of 1673.  Annabelle Kemp’s 1964 book Lucas Genealogy covered his and other early Lucas lines in America.

Lucases in North Carolina included Charles Lucas of Robeson county, John Lucas of Wayne county, and Lewis Lucas of Sampson county.  They probably had the same forebears.  Descendants of Charles Lucas (as traced in Rev. Silas Lucas's 1959 book The Dotsons of SW Virginia) later migrated to the southern states.  John Lucas was a patriot during the Revolutionary War.  Later Lucases of this line were Baptist and Methodist ministers.

From Wiltshire came the Quaker Robert Lucas to Bucks county, Pennsylvania in 1679.  His descendants moved to Virginia.  A later Robert Lucas, who headed west to Ohio as a young man in the early 1800’s, rose to become Governor of that state and then of what was then Iowa territory.  He was known for his quick temper, almost causing a war each time over boundary disputes with neighboring states.

The name of Lucas ranks high in the early plantation history of South Carolina.  John Lucas, a planter in the Caribbean, had bought land at Wappoo Creek near Charleston.  His grand-daughter Eliza took over the plantation there in the late 1730’s and oversaw the development of the dye indigo as a cash crop. Meanwhile Jonathan Lucas, the son of a wealthy English mill-owner in Cumberland, was a later arrival in Charleston in 1783.  He was a skilled millwright and over the years developed various rice mill prototypes in the area, culminating in his first steam-powered rice mill in 1817.  His descendants still live in Charleston.

There were Lucases who came to America from other counties in Europe:
  • Daniel Lucas arrived in Philadelphia from the German Palatine in 1740 on the Lydia.  He made his home in Schuykill county, Pennsylvania.
  • and Theodore Lucas who came to New York from Luxemburg on the Clifton in 1854 and eventually settled in Illinois.
Canada.  Andrew Lucas and his family (including his brother John and uncle James) emigrated to Canada from county Carlow in Ireland in 1815 on the promise of a free land grant.  They ended up in Lanark county, Ontario. Andrew later moved to Lambton county.  He is reported to have over 14,000 descendants.

Australia.  Nathaniel Lucas, a London carpenter, was transported to Australia on the First Fleet in 1788. He died of drink in 1818.  In 1988 four hundred descendants of Nathaniel and his wife Olivia Gascoigne met for a reunion.  Peter McKay's 2004 book The Lucas Clan in Australia estimated that there were in total 54,000 descendants of the couple. 

Thomas Lucas was also on the First Fleet.

Select Lucas Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for further stories and accounts:

Select Lucas Names

The Lucas brothers were prominent builders in Victorian England.
Paul Lukas was a Hungarian-born Hiollywood actor of the 1930's and 40's.
Jerry Lucas was a Hall of Fame basketball player for the New York Knicks and other clubs.
George Lucas was the creator of the Star Wars and Indiana Jones series of films.

Select Lucases Today
  • 30,000 in the UK (most numerous in Lancashire)
  • 36,000 in America (most numerous in California) 
  • 18,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)

PS.  You might want to check out the surnames page on this website.  It covers surname genealogy in this and companion websites for more than 800 surnames.

Click here for reader feedback
Click here for return to front page