Ricketts Family History

Ricketts is an English medieval family name. The consensus seems to be that our surname is derived from many different origins. These influences include French and Germanic derivations since the name most likely migrated across the English Channel from mainland Europe around the 16th or 17th century. In researching our Ricketts family history we’ve found that our lineages fit neatly in this evolution of the Ricketts family name, with ancestors living in the west country of England during the 18th century.

ricketts family history

Surnames

It’s worth noting that throughout much of England surnames were not commonly used until around 1400s. In 1250, few people except the wealthy had last names, but by 1450, almost everyone had a one.

Ricketts Family Origins

The Ricketts family name is most likely derived from multiple origins, including French and Germanic variations. Indeed, well over 160 different surname roots have been identified by researchers including Raicote, Reekyts, Rykket,Riccuts, Riccatts, Richatts, Rickeet, Rykeytt, Rycote, Requette or Ricard.

This wide variety of name-roots gives weight to 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 with Germanic and Italian influences.

German Roots

Some researchers believe the Ricketts family name derives from the 7th century Germanic and Anglo-Saxon name “Richard.” Popular before the Norman conquest in 1066 it later became associated with the struggle of natives against the invaders.

French Connection

Other 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 Combe, in Hereford county.

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.

Ricketts Family’s Dorset Roots

Historically the Ricketts family history is concentrated in the south and west of England. Concentrations of the name are found in Gloucestershire, Somerset, Wiltshire, Dorset, Warwickshire, and Worcestershire. Since our known Ricketts relatives can be found living in Dorset and the west country through the 1800s. This ties our family research neatly into this historical narrative.

There are also concentrations of Ricketts in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. Again this fits our family history with relatives living in both counties and just across the Hampshire border in West Sussex.

On-going Research

As we dig deeper into the archives, we discover more about the Ricketts family history. It’s clear that even in the small Dorset villages there were several Ricketts families living at the same time. It can be difficult to unravel the different families when trying to tie them back into ours. We continue to research the archives to find answers.

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