The Ricketts Family

ricketts family tree
Walter Ricketts

Origins of the Ricketts Family Name and Ricketts Family Tree

While the Ricketts surname doesn’t make any of the most common surnames lists, there still seems to be an awful lot of us around. During my travels, I’ve met quite a few unrelated Ricketts’, and a quick google search reveals several Paul Ricketts in a variety of locations and occupations.

The consensus is that the Ricketts last name has either French or German origins, and arrived in England in the 16th century. Our particular family line first appeared in Dorset, migrated to Hampshire, then Sussex, back to Hampshire, and now as far as Kent and Maryland in the US. Here’s a brief accounting of the Ricketts family name and our family’s journey through the ages.

Ricketts is an English medieval family name

The consensus seems to point to the Ricketts surname being derived from many different origins. Indeed, well over 160 other surname roots have been identified by researchers, including Raicote, Reekyts, Rykket, Riccuts, Riccatts, Richatts, Rickeet, Rykeytt, Rycote, Requette or Ricard. 

The earliest documented occurrences of the Ricketts name can be found in the 1500s. However, it’s during the 1600s that the Ricketts name becomes more prevalent. Variants such as Riccats and Riccatts can be found on the Gloucester and Wiltshire border.

The strongest influences include French and Germanic derivations, with the name most likely migrating across the English Channel from mainland Europe around the 16th or 17th century. It’s worth noting that surnames were not commonly used throughout much of England until around the 1400s. In 1250, few people except the wealthy had last names, but by 1450, almost everyone had one.

The French Connection

The wide variety of name-roots supports the argument that the Ricketts surname migrated to England from France. Due to significant changes in the French language over time, the same family names often devolved into numerous variants. These variants included Germanic and Italian influences.

Some researchers suggest that the Ricketts name was initially associated with the Huguenots, who, fleeing religious persecution, left France in the 16th and 17th centuries. One Huguenot family with the name Ricquart or Ricard lived in Kent before heading west and settling in Coombe, in Hereford county.

A family with agrarian roots

Our Ricketts family has deep roots in the countryside. Much of our known history was spent as farm laborers and dairymen. Living in the small villages around Wool and Dorchester, our ancestors must have been caught up in the beginnings of the labor movement in rural Dorset. Dorset labourers were particularly badly treated by their employers, and our research shows connections to Tolpuddle during the time of the Tolpuddle Martyrs. This tradition of farm working continued right through to my grandfather at Moore Farm in Midhurst in the 1950s.

The Ricketts surname in the West Country

Historically there are large numbers of Ricketts throughout the southern and western counties of England. They are found concentrated in Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Somerset, and Dorsetshire. The west country connection is compelling, as we know that our particular family was present in Dorset for much of the 1700s, 1800s, and later.

The Ricketts family name and our Dorset roots

Historically our earliest known Ricketts family members were concentrated in a small area of Dorset in the villages around Dorchester. Researching the family can be a challenge given the number of different Ricketts families in this part of England. Also, many individuals have the same first names, so sorting out the family branches is tricky.

Our earliest known Ricketts seems to be Henry Ricketts, born in Coombe Keynes, Dorset, about 1736. By the mid-1700s, he lived in Winfrith Newburgh, Dorset, where he and his wife Sussana had seven children.

Our Ricketts family line then falls to Henry’s son, also named Henry, born in 1765. He and his wife Charity had six children. By the time Joseph, their fourth child, is born, they live in Wool, Dorset. Joseph stays in Wool with his family into the 1830s, then moves to Wareham, Dorset.

Joseph’s son William is born in Wool, where he and his wife Ann have five of their eight children. The other three are born in Briantspuddle, Dorset. By 1921 Joseph has moved to Weymouth on the Dorset coast.

Our family line then moves to George Henry Ricketts, born in Briantspuddle, spent some time living in Tolpuddle, where he met his wife, Alice Maud. Married in Athelhampton, Dorset, they went on to have two sons while living in Burlestone and ended their days in Weymouth.

Our Ricketts family moves to Hampshire.

Cyril Ricketts, George’s youngest son, and my grandfather moved to Wickham in Hampshire with his wife Florence sometime before 1939. They were married in nearby Winchester, where Florence was brought up. While living in Wickham, they had a son and a daughter.

The Ricketts in Sussex and beyond

Cyril Ricketts and his family moved to Midhurst, Sussex, in the 1940s. Since then, family members have spent time in Hampshire and moved further afield to Kent and Maryland in the US.

On-going Ricketts Family Research


Generation 1


  • 1. HENRY1 RICKETTS was born about 1736 in Coombe Keynes, Dorset, England. He died before 24 Jul 1808 in Wool, Dorset, England. He married Susanna Ricketts on 25 Jul 1753 in Sturminster Marshall, Dorset, England. She was born about 1733. Henry Ricketts and Susanna Ricketts had the following children:
    • 1.1. JOHN2 RICKETTS was born on 27 Mar 1757 in Winfrith Newburgh, Dorset, England. He married Elizabeth Furmage on 21 Jun 1789 in Coombe Keynes, Dorset, England.
    • 1.2. ORCHARD RICKETTS was born on 15 Jun 1760 in Winfrith Newburgh, Dorset, England.
    • 1.3. MARY RICKETTS was born on 15 Jun 1762 in Winfrith Newburgh Burton, Dorset, England. She died on 24 Jun 1762 in Winfrith Newburgh, Dorset, England.
    • 1.4. HENRY RICKETTS was born on 01 Mar 1764 in Winfrith Newburgh Burton, Dorset, England. He died on 05 Apr 1764 in Winfrith Newburgh Burton, Dorset, England.
    • 1.5. HENRY RICKETTS was born on 06 Oct 1765 in Winfrith Newburgh Burton, Dorset, England. He died about 1847. He married Charity Gaulton, daughter of Gaulton, on 02 Jan 1788 in Wool, Dorset, England. She was born on 20 Apr 1762. She died about 1821.
    • 1.6. ROBERT RICKETTS was born on 22 Oct 1769 in Winfrith Newburgh, Dorset, England. He died in Jan 1852 in Wareham, Dorset, England. He married Jane Shitler on 12 Jul 1796 in Wool, Dorset, England.
    • 1.7. ARGENTINE RICKETTS. She married John James on 16 Apr 1780 in Wool, Dorset, England.

Generation 2


  • 1.3. MARY2 RICKETTS (Henry1) was born on 15 Jun 1762 in Winfrith Newburgh Burton, Dorset, England. She died on 24 Jun 1762 in Winfrith Newburgh, Dorset, England.
  • 1.5. HENRY2 RICKETTS (Henry1) was born on 06 Oct 1765 in Winfrith Newburgh Burton, Dorset, England. He died about 1847. He married Charity Gaulton, daughter of Gaulton, on 02 Jan 1788 in Wool, Dorset, England. She was born on 20 Apr 1762. She died about 1821. Henry Ricketts and Charity Gaulton had the following children:
    • 1.5.1. JOHN3 RICKETTS was born before 13 Jul 1788.
    • 1.5.2. AARON RICKETTS was born before 31 Oct 1790 in Coombe Keynes, Dorset, England.
    • 1.5.3. EDMUND RICKETTS was born before 18 Oct 1795. He married CHARITY RICKETTS.
    • 1.5.4. JOSEPH RICKETTS was born before 24 Dec 1797 in Wool, Dorset, England. He died in Jul 1844 in Wareham, Dorset, England. He married Mary Runyard, daughter of Mary Runyard, on 02 May 1830 in Wool, Dorset, England. She was born in 1802 in Stoke, Dorset, England. She died in Jan 1875 in Wareham, Dorset, England.
    • 1.5.5. RACHAEL RICKETTS was born before 23 Feb 1800.
    • 1.5.6. JULIA RICKETTS was born before 13 Jan 1805.
  • 1.6. ROBERT2 RICKETTS (Henry1) was born on 22 Oct 1769 in Winfrith Newburgh, Dorset, England. He died in Jan 1852 in Wareham, Dorset, England. He married Jane Shitler on 12 Jul 1796 in Wool, Dorset, England. Robert Ricketts and Jane Shitler had the following child:
    • 1.6.1. ROBT3 RICKETTS was born before 05 Aug 1798.
  • 1.7. ARGENTINE2 RICKETTS (Henry1). She married John James on 16 Apr 1780 in Wool, Dorset, England. John James and Argentine Ricketts had the following child:
    • 1.7.1. HENERY3 JAMES.

Generation 3


  • 1.5.3. EDMUND3 RICKETTS (Henry2, Henry1) was born before 18 Oct 1795. He married CHARITY RICKETTS. Edmund Ricketts and Charity Ricketts had the following child:
    • 1.5.3.1. EDMAND4 RICKETTS.

  • 1.5.4. JOSEPH3 RICKETTS (Henry2, Henry1) was born before 24 Dec 1797 in Wool, Dorset, England. He died in Jul 1844 in Wareham, Dorset, England. He married Mary Runyard, daughter of Mary Runyard, on 02 May 1830 in Wool, Dorset, England. She was born in 1802 in Stoke, Dorset, England. She died in Jan 1875 in Wareham, Dorset, England. Joseph Ricketts and Mary Runyard had the following children:
    • 1.5.4.1. EDMUND4 RICKETTS was born about 1831 in Wool, Dorset, England.
    • 1.5.4.2. WILLIAM RICKETTS was born about 1836 in Wool, Dorset, England. He died in Dec 1921 in Wareham, Dorset, England. He married Ann Cox, daughter of Joseph Cox and Jane Cox, on 05 Apr 1861 in Wool, Dorset, England. She was born about 1836 in Wool, Dorset, England. She died in Apr 1897 in Wareham, Dorset, England.
    • 1.5.4.3. LEVI RICKETTS was born before 28 Mar 1841 in Dorset, England.

Generation 4


  • 1.5.4.1. EDMUND4 RICKETTS (Joseph3, Henry2, Henry1) was born about 1831 in Wool, Dorset, England. Edmund Ricketts had the following children:
    • 1.5.4.1.1. ELIZABETH JANE5 RICKETTS was born about 1858 in Wool, Dorset, England.
    • 1.5.4.1.2. THOMAS ROBERT RICKETTS was born about 1860 in Knighton, Dorset, England.
    • 1.5.4.1.3. MARY R RICKETTS was born about 1861 in Knighton, Dorset, England.
    • 1.5.4.1.4. JOSEPH G. RICKETTS was born about 1863 in Knighton, Dorset, England.
    • 1.5.4.1.5. ELLEN RICKETTS was born about 1866 in Brighton, Sussex, England.
    • 1.5.4.1.6. ANNIE KATE RICKETTS was born in Apr 1870 in Brighton, Sussex, England.
    • 1.5.4.1.7. WILLIAM EDMUND RICKETTS was born in Oct 1872 in Brighton, Sussex, England.
  • 1.5.4.2. WILLIAM4 RICKETTS (Joseph3, Henry2, Henry1) was born about 1836 in Wool, Dorset, England. He died in Dec 1921 in Wareham, Dorset, England. He married Ann Cox, daughter of Joseph Cox and Jane Cox, on 05 Apr 1861 in Wool, Dorset, England. She was born about 1836 in Wool, Dorset, England. She died in Apr 1897 in Wareham, Dorset, England. William Ricketts and Ann Cox had the following children:
    • 1.5.4.2.1. MARY T5 RICKETTS was born about 1864 in Wool, Dorset, England.
    • 1.5.4.2.2. SARAH A RICKETTS was born about 1866 in Wool, Dorset, England.
    • 1.5.4.2.3. SOPHIA RICKETTS was born about 1868 in Wool, Dorset, England.
    • 1.5.4.2.4. BESSIE A. RICKETTS was born about 1871 in Wool, Dorset, England.
    • 1.5.4.2.5. ANNIE K. RICKETTS was born in 1873 in Wool, Dorset, England.
    • 1.5.4.2.6. WILLIAM T. RICKETTS was born about 1874 in Briantspuddle, Dorset, England.
    • 1.5.4.2.7. WALTER J. RICKETTS was born about 1876 in Briantspuddle, Dorset, England.
    • 1.5.4.2.8. GEORGE HENRY RICKETTS was born on 14 Feb 1879 in Briantspuddle, Dorset, England. He died in Apr 1950 in Weymouth, Dorset, England. He married Alice Maud Cake, daughter of John Cake and Emma Cake, on 24 Apr 1907 in Athelhampton, Dorset, England. She was born on 26 Nov 1876 in Tolpuddle, Dorset, England. She died in Jan 1950 in Weymouth, Dorset, England.

Generation 5


  • 1.5.4.2.8. GEORGE HENRY5 RICKETTS (William4, Joseph3, Henry2, Henry1) was born on 14 Feb 1879 in Briantspuddle, Dorset, England. He died in Apr 1950 in Weymouth, Dorset, England. He married Alice Maud Cake, daughter of John Cake and Emma Cake, on 24 Apr 1907 in Athelhampton, Dorset, England. She was born on 26 Nov 1876 in Tolpuddle, Dorset, England. She died in Jan 1950 in Weymouth, Dorset, England. George Henry Ricketts and Alice Maud Cake had the following children:
    • 1.5.4.2.8.1. WALTER JOHN6 RICKETTS was born about 1908 in Burleston, Dorset, England.
    • 1.5.4.2.8.2. CYRIL GEORGE RICKETTS was born on 18 Oct 1909 in Burleston, Dorset, England. He died in Mar 1962 in Midhurst, Sussex, England. He married Florence Maude Mitchell, daughter of William Henry Mitchell and Alice Holmes, in Dec 1938 in Winchester, Hampshire, England. She was born on 22 Nov 1913 in Winchester, Hampshire. She died in Dec 2002 in Midhurst, Sussex, England.

Generation 6


  • 1.5.4.2.8.2. CYRIL GEORGE6 RICKETTS (George Henry5, William4, Joseph3, Henry2, Henry1) was born on 18 Oct 1909 in Burleston, Dorset, England. He died in Mar 1962 in Midhurst, Sussex, England. He married Florence Maude Mitchell, daughter of William Henry Mitchell and Alice Holmes, in Dec 1938 in Winchester, Hampshire, England. She was born on 22 Nov 1913 in Winchester, Hampshire. She died in Dec 2002 in Midhurst, Sussex, England. Cyril George Ricketts and Florence Maude Mitchell had the following children:
    • 1.5.4.2.8.2.1. [Living Son]
    • 1.5.4.2.8.2.2. [Living Daughter]

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