Through his mother, Hugh was the descendent of Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor; Henry I, Duke of Bavaria; Bruno the Great, Archbishop of Cologne; and finally, Gerberga of Saxony, Queen of France. Gerberga was the wife of Louis IV, King of France and mother of Lothair of France and Charles, Duke of Lower Lorraine.
His paternal family, the Robertians, were powerful landowners in the Île-de-France. His grandfather had been King Robert I. King Odo was his granduncle and King Rudolph was his uncle by affinity. Hugh's paternal grandmother was a descendant of Charlemagne.
After the end of the ninth century, the descendants of Robert the Strong became indispensable in carrying out royal policies. As Carolingian power failed, the great nobles of West Francia began to assert that the monarchy was elective, not hereditary, and twice chose Robertians (Odo I (888–898) and Robert I (922–923)) as kings, instead of Carolingians.