Pettigrew Surname Genealogy

Pettigrew comes from the French petit cru, meaning “small growth,” and was probably in this case a nickname for a small or short man. However, there is an alternative derivation for the name, that it is derived from pie de grue, meaning “crane’s foot” (i.e. one with long legs).  The name was brought first by the Normans to England and Scotland and later by French Huguenots to Ireland.
Select Pettigrew Resources on The Internet

Pettigrew Ancestry

Early sightings of the name in England were in Cornwall. There
were records of a Pettigrew manor at Gerrans in Cornwall in the
Alice Pettigrew was born in Helston, Cornwall around 1257 and married
William Godolphin there in 1276. The Pettigrew name appeared
frequently in Cornish parish records in the 16th and 17th centuries,
but was less common later. Most Pettigrews in the 1891 census in
England in fact probably
originated from Scotland.

. Exactly who brought the Pettigrew name to
Scotland and when is not known. Some think that a Pettigrew
family may have arrived with or at the same time as the
. A Thomas Petykreu of Lanarkshire appeared
in the
Ragman’s Roll of 1296. From that time onwards the Pettigrew name
was to be found in the Old Monklands area of Lanarkshire where
Coatbridge and Airdrie now stand. The name later extended into
Glasgow and parts of Ayrshire.

Blantyre parish near Hamilton in NW Lanarkshire listed many
Pettigrews. One Pettigrew family traces their history back to
Alexander Pettigrew, a shoemaker of the parish in the late
1600’s. Pettigrews were also living nearby at Dyesholm
in the 19th century.

From the Glasgow cleric Pettigrew – who appeared in Walter Scott’s Rob Roy – is said to have descended
the naval surgeon
William Pettigrew. He settled in London and his son Thomas was
an early expert on Egyptian mummies.

James Bell Pettigrew, born near Airdrie, was a distinguished
19th century academic who was a pioneer in the theory of flight well
before the time of Wilbur Wright.
One line of these Pettigrews were mining engineers who moved to
Ireland and then to Chile in the early 1900’s. Stanley Pettigrew
returned to Ireland in 1930 and became a well-known painter there.

Ireland. The Pettigrews in Ireland may be either of
Scottish or of French Huguenot origin. Both settled n the
northern counties of Ulster.

Scottish. One of
the main planters who brought Scottish settlers to county Down
in Ireland in the early 1600’s was James Hamilton of Ayrshire. He
acquired land at Killyleagh where several families of Pettigrews later
settled. Gavin Pettigrew and Rachel McCormick were married there
in 1706 and had thirteen children between 1707 and 1732.

were also Pettigrews in Cumber parish, a few miles south of Belfast,
from Daniel Pettigrew in the early 1600’s. The spelling in county
Down was sometimes Petticrew or Pettycrew.

Huguenot. The
Huguenot Pettigrews in Ireland were originally
Petigrus. Fleeing religious persecution in France, it is
thought that they had first come to Scotland. James
Pettigrew – as he then styled himself – was an
officer who fought for William of Orange at the Battle of the Boyne in
In recompense he was granted land
in county Tyrone where he built his family home, the Crilly House. This large
stone and slate house was to stay with successive generations of
Pettigrews until 1945.

America. This Huguenot trail
moved to America when James Pettigrew and his wife
Mary left their home in
Tyrone for America in 1745, staying first in Pennsylvania and then
moving south to the Abbeville district of South Carolina. One of his sons William penned a family history around the
year 1800.

Another son James adopted the old Huguenot spelling of Petigru and was
leading lawyer of his time. It was said that by changing the
spelling of his name James Petigru enjoyed much
greater upward mobility in
Charleston society.

Another son Charles settled in Tyrrell county, North Carolina.

“Of all the zealous clergymen in the
Church of England in North Carolina at the time of the Revolution, none
ranked higher than the Rev. Charles Pettigrew. He built
Pettigrew’s Chapel at his own expense and for many years ministered
there, as well as at Edenton and elsewhere throughout the province.”

Charles’s family became prominent Tidewater planters and
politicians. Son William expanded the family holdings. His
homestead and lands are now the Pettigrew State Park in North
Carolina. Another son James Johnston was a well-known local
figure and a Confederate general during the Civil War (his life was
described in Clyde Wilson’s 2002 book Carolina

However, the family fortunes declined
after the defeat in the
Civil War. One branch of this family moved to Fayetteville,
where James Pettigrew was a prominent lawyer and
newspaperman before and after the Civil War.

The Pettigrew Family Papers
that came out in four volumes in 1971 cover this family history.

William Pettigrew from Ayr in Scotland came out
to Australia on the Fortitude in
1849, settling in Queensland. He built
Brisbane’s first steam-power sawmill in 1853 and was active in the
industry there throughout his life. He
was mayor of Brisbane in 1870. His
diaries and papers provide some interesting material on colonial
Queensland at
that time

Pettigrew Miscellany

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

Petigrew Names

Thomas Pettigrew was a London-based antiquarian who became an
expert in Egyptian mummies in the early 19th century.
J. Johnston Pettigrew was a
Confederate general killed soon after the Battle of Gettysberg.

Select Pettigrews Today

  • 2,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Lanarkshire)
  • 2,000 in America (most numerous in Texas)
  • 2,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)



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