Dickinson Surname Genealogy

Dick is an abbreviation of Richard (it
is said that some of the native English could not get their mouth
around the Norman “R” and “R” became “D” or “H”
instead). Maybe this applied particularly to the folks in the
north. Dixon and its diminutive Dickinson are common surnames of
the north. Dickin and Dickens do crop up in the West
Midlands. But the possible southern candidate Dicks is not that
common at all.

Dickinson Resources on

Dickinson Ancestry

Dickinson is a north country name. Early Dickinsons came from
Yorkshire. A Dickinson family from Hull dates from the 1400’s and
as Dykonsons possibly back to
1260. During the 1500’s they lived at Kenson Manor near Leeds and
at Bradley Hall in south Staffordshire. A Quaker family of
Dickinsons lived at Birds Edge in the West Ridings from the 17th
century. There were also Dickinson Quakers in the East Ridings at
this time.

Dickinsons have been numerous in Cumberland as well. Dickinson
estate records at Lamplugh near Cockermouth date from 1601, first at
Streetgate and then at Red How. Dickinsons have farmed in the
Lyth valley for almost as long.

London. Some
well-known Dickinsons have come from London. These included
Charles Dickinson and his son Walter who carried the family’s arms to
Virginia. John Dickinson was brought up in
London and trained as
a stationer there. In 1809 he invented a
continuous mechanized process for papermaking and started a paper
mill in Hertfordshire. This was the forerunner of the John
stationery company. Joan Evans’ 1955 book The Endless Web
described the history of John Dickinson & Co from its startup years.

Joseph Dickinson, originally from
Northumberland, operated a stationery and lithography publishing
business on
Bond Street in London in the early 1800’s.
His son Lowes Cato Dickinson became a well-known Victorian
painter; his nephew John, also a portrait painter, made his home in
California. One of Lowes’s sons Arthur,
later knighted, was an accountant of high repute; another son
Goldsworthy or Goldie
a pacifist in World War One and a member of the Bloomsbury set.

America. Dickinson is most notably a New England name .

New England.
Dickinson was among the colonists who had left England in 1629 on the
Winthrop fleet, settled in Wethersfield, and later removed to

  • his descendants, via his son Samuel, came to Amherst in
    the 1740’s, helped
    found Amherst College and included in their number a century later the
    poet Emily
  • Oliver
    Dickinson, from another line via his son Thomas, migrated west to
    Randolph township, Ohio in the
    early 1800’s. Alpheus Dickinson of Randolph township was notable
    for having six wives.

Captain John Dickinson was a Quaker sea captain who had first arrived in Boston
from Ely in
Cambridgeshire in 1630. However,
encountering religious persecution there, he resettled thirty years
later in
Oyster Bay on Long Island. His line was
in Marguerite Dickinson’s 1968 book Descendants of Captain John
and Elizabeth Howland

Jonathan Dickinson, the first president of Princeton
College, was born in Hatfield, Massachusetts in 1688.
His parents came from pioneer Connecticut valley stock. Ebenezer Dickinson
from Hatfield migrated to Litchfield,
Connecticut and from his line came Oliver Dickinson, the architect of
Church in Milton, and his son Anson, a nationally known painter of

Walter Dickinson
had emigrated to Virginia in 1654 and, having joined the
Quaker movement, moved with others of that faith to Kent county,
Delaware. The family land-holdings increased with each generation
so that, by the time of his great grandson John Dickinson of
Revolutionary times, they had become extremely wealthy. Dickinson
in Pennylvania was named in honor of John Dickinson.

Canada. It
is thought likely that the Loyalist
Dickinsons from Dutchess county, New York were descended from Captain
Dickinson of Oyster Bay. Amos Dickinson
was the head of nine Dickinsons who came to New Brunswick at the
conclusion of
the Revolutionary War.

Another New York
Dickinson family, that of Barnabus Dickinson (a descendant of immigrant
Nathaniel Dickinson), migrated to Cornwall, Ontario in 1827. Barnabus died of cholera five years later. But his son Moss established a business
transporting goods along the Rideau Canal between Ottawa and Kingston. Locals started to call him “the King of the
Rideau.” He began a grist mill at
Manotick on the banks of the Rideau in 1860 which remained with the
family until 1929.

Frank Dickinson and
his family arrived in Canada from Bolton in Lancashire in 1910. They eventually settled in Summerland,
British Columbia where they started an apple orchard.
It remains with their family today.

Dickinson Miscellany

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

Dickinson Names

John Dickinson was an
American lawyer and politician, known as the “penman of the Revolution”
for the role he played in constitutional matters at that time.
John Dickinson invented a
continuous mechanized pepermaking process in 1809 and founded a paper
mill in Hertfordshire which was the forerunner of the John Dickinson
Stationery company.
was a well-known 19th century American poet.
, born Angie Brown, is an American actress.

Select Dickinsons Today

  • 16,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Cumbria)
  • 10,000 in America (most numerous in California)
  • 10,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)



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