Perkins Surname Genealogy
root of the surname Perkins is the
probably the French Pierre that was brought to England by the Normans. Pierre often became Peter or Peterkin in
England or transcribed to Pierrekin.
These forms then corrupted to the patronymic Perkins.
The Welsh Perkin came from Perthyn, meaning a
relative or belonging to a particular person or
family. This later became Perkins.
“-kins” was generally attached to a personal
name as a pet name, usually denoting “the little one.” The suffix
was apparently a Flemish import which for some reason became popular in
Perkins Resources on
Perkins of English or Welsh origin.
- John Perkins
John Perkins of Ipswich, Massachusetts.
- The Perkins Family
The Perkins of Boston.
- Descendants of Robert Perkins
Perkins of Maryland and further south.
- Perkins DNA Project
Parkins was said to
have provided an early pedigree, possibly back to the 1100’s. By the 14th century both the Parkins (or
and the Perkins (or Perkyns) names were to be found, although the
spelling then tended to fade out.
The most well-known early Perkins was a man
named Peter Morley alias Perkins recorded in 1381.
His origins have been in dispute. But
he was at that time an official working
for the Despencers, the richest
and most influential family in the country.
From his family came in the early/mid 1400’s
the Perkins of Madresfield
in Worcestershire and the Perkins of Ufton in Berkshire:
of the Perkins of
Madresfield migrated into Herefordshire. However,
the most important line established itself at an
early time in
the parish of Hillmorton in Warwickshire. They were later at Newent in
Gloucestershire. A branch of this family
took up residence at Orton Hall, just across the border into
Ufton estate in Berkshire meanwhile remained for several
centuries with the descendants of William and Margaret Perkins. Christopher Perkins from Ufton was a diplomat
at the time of Queen Elizabeth. There
was a branch of the family by this time at Bunny in Nottinghamshire.
of the early Perkins lines were recorded
in Mansfield Parkyns’ 1916 book The
Perkins Family in Ye Olden Times.
Perkins has been primarily a west country
name, but has extended into SE England. William
Perkins was a merchant tailor in London in the early 1600’s. Sir William Perkins was a wealthy Chertsey
merchant in Surrey who founded the school named after him there in 1725.
Perkins of Pilston near Llandogo, across the border in Monmouthshire,
from the 1570’s, the origin of these Perkins being a certain William ap
Perkin from north Wales. Christopher
Perkins was Sheriff of Monmouthshire in 1666.
The Perkins lived at Pilston until the death of Edward Perkins
The Perkins name also cropped up in
Pembrokeshire. David Perkins was
churchwarden at Llanwnda in 1543. The
main cluster of the name was to be found at St. David’s, starting in
the 1600’s. The earlier spelling was
Perkin. It later became Perkins.
There were and are larger Perkins numbers in
Glamorgan in south Wales. Edward Perkins was an under-Sheriff of
Glamorgan in 1664,
followed by Moore Perkins in 1665. Moore
Perkins lived at
Saint-y-Nyll in St. Brides-super-Ely parish.
A descendant a century later was John Perkins of Llantrithyd. His Diary
of a Gentleman Farmer in the Vale of
published and has been preserved. There
was also a long-established Perkins
family at Rhos-y-Gelli in the Gower Peninsula.
of the early Perkins arrivals in America
were Puritans who came for religious reasons. Many
might have been related.
New England. The earliest arrival,
just ten years after
the Mayflower, was John
Perkins on the Lyon.
He reached Boston
with his family in February 1631 and they later made their home in
Mary was among those accused of witchcraft during the hysteria of the
trials and, although convicted, managed to escape punishment.
John Perkins’ descendants remained in Ipswich
for the next two hundred years, although a branch of the family did
Maine in the 1760’s. Another line
led to a distinguished family of lawyers in Hartford, Connecticut:
with Enoch Perkins in the early 1800’s and then ran to Thomas, Charles,
Arthur in the next three generations.
the women in this family were equally distinguished.
Enoch’s daughter Emily married Roger Baldwin,
Connecticut Governor and Senator. One
generation later came Charlotte Gilman nee Perkins, a prominent writer,
lecturer and feminist of the early 1900’s.
1889 book The Family of John Perkins of
Ipswich narrated the family history.
Possibly related to
John as brothers or cousins were Isaac and Abraham Perkins. Isaac spent some time in Ipswich before he
and Abraham moved in 1639 to Hampton, New Hampshire where they had
Also possibly related was the
Rev. William Perkins, who moved from Ipswich to Topsfield, Massachusetts.
descendants included Roger
Perkins who settled in New Hampshire after the Revolutionary War; Commodore George
naval hero during the Civil War; and his daughter Isabel who married
a Puritan and also possibly related was Edward Perkins who
came to the New Haven colony from London in 1648.
1790 Roger Perkins stated that his father had given to him a powder
had belonged to his grandfather’s grandfather Edward Perkins who was a
half-brother to the Rev. William Perkins, a clergyman and early settler
genealogy was recounted in Judge Paul Perkins’ 1980 book Genealogy
and History of One Branch of the Perkins Family.
was some speculation that
Edmund Perkins, found in Boston from about 1650 onwards, was related to
more of these Perkins, but no evidence has been produced to that effect.
line did lead to James Perkins, a Boston merchant who founded the
in the 1760’s, and to James and Thomas Handasyd Perkins of the China
firm of J&T Perkins & Co. Their
success as merchants and as owners of ships that plied the China
trade became legendary in Boston in the early 19th century. At the same time, they were well known for
their philanthropy, being among the leading Boston Brahmins of their
arrived elsewhere, but apparently unrelated and in fewer numbers.
Perkins, a laborer, was one of the 104 original settlers of the
colony in 1608. He wrote home that
cold was so intense that one night the river at our fort froze
almost all the way across, although at that point it is as wide again
one in London.”
Neither Francis nor his son of the same name was on the
Jamestown census list of 1624 (they may not have survived). Some have claimed that the line from Humphrey
Perkins of Old Rappahannock county dated back to Francis, but there is
evidence that this was true.
Perkins arrived in Maryland from Devon in 1674 (some have him being
there). He was a cooper by trade and
made his home in Baltimore county. Later
Perkins of this family were to be found in Virginia and North Carolina. Ute Perkins headed up a Perkins gang that
Maryland and Virginia in the 1750’s. A
later Ute Perkins, who fought with the North Carolina militia during
Revolutionary War, was a pioneer settler in Hancock county, Illinois in
1826. Moses Perkins, who also fought in
the War, ended up in Georgia.
Australia were convicts. Samuel Perkins
arrived in NSW on
the Pitt in 1792, Richard
Perkins on the Hillsborough
in 1799. For
both it was a hazardous experience. The
insanitary conditions onboard caused a considerable loss of life during
voyage due to overcrowding and disease.
Perkins was pardoned in 1801 and joined the NSW Corps as a private. However, he died unexpectedly five years
later at the age of 33.
to escape in 1800 by stealing a boat on the Hunter river.
Despite this escapade (for which he was
initially sentenced to death), he was pardoned. He
was subsequently recorded as an emancipated seaman.
Both men have left a sizeable number of
descendants in Australia. Samuel’s
celebrated the bicentennial of his arrival in 1992.
If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:
William Perkins was one of the
the Puritan movement in the Church of England
Colonel T. H.
Perkins was a
who traded as far as China in the early 19th century.
Anthony Perkins was
an American actor best known for
his role as Norman Bates in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho.
an American singer-songwriter
from Tennessee who was called the King
of Rockabilly. His best-known song is Blue Suede Shoes.
Select Perkins Today
- 24,000 in the UK (most numerous
- 47,000 in America (most numerous in Texas)
- 10,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)
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