Vick Surname Meaning, History & Origin

Select Vick Meaning
There are English origins and German origins for the surname Vick.
English. Vick
is a localized English surname, coming initially from
Gloucestershire. Its English origins are obscure. It
could be a nickname, from
the Norman French l’eveske,
meaning “the bishop,” from which came the names Levesque and Levick; or
it could come from a place-name Vic in southern France; or it could
come from the Old English wic,
meaning “settlement,” which became a surname Wyk and then somehow
Vick. None of these explanations is very satisfactory.
German. Vick is
also a localized German surname, coming initially from
north Germany on the border with Denmark and in the area between
Hamburg and Schwerin.
Its root here seems to have been the German personal name
Friedrich. Friedrich became in pet form Fick and Vick in some

Vick Resources on

Vick Ancestry

The Vick name may have started with one or a few families in
Gloucestershire. Ricard Vicke left a will dated 1565 in Kings
Stanley. Thomas
lived in Randwick near Stroud and he died
and was buried there in 1574. His son was James Vyke, mason to
Sir Raplh Dutton, and Elizabeth Vick was recorded as James’s widow in
1642. Their descendants remained in Randwick through the 17th and
18th centuries.

There were other Vicks in Gloucestershire by the 18th century. At
Elmore church near Stroud there are family monuments to Silvanus Vick
who died there in 1776 and his son Daniel who died in 1810. On
his death in 1754 William
, a Bristol wine merchant, left money to
fund the construction of a bridge across the Avon Gorge. This
eventually became the Clifton suspension bridge.

By the time of the 1841 census, more than half of the Vicks in England
were to be found in Gloucestershire:

  • Gloucestershire, 53%
  • Hampshire, 18%
  • Sussex, 14%
  • and elsewhere, 15%

One family lineage has been traced from James Vick, born in Portsmouth
around 1785, and another from Charles Vick, born in Chichester in
Sussex in 1826.

Isle of Man.
There were also Vicks on the Isle of Man. These seemed to have
been the descendants of Johann Ficke from Germany who arrived there in
the late 1700’s. Ficke became Fick and then Vick at Malew about

America. The English
immigrant Joseph Vick was the progenitor of many of the Vicks in
America. He was a planter in Virginia who
had arrived there around 1670. The book Joseph
Vick of Lower Parish, Isle of Wight County,
edited by John Beatty and
Di Ann Vick described the first five generations of this family.

One line of descent passed through Shadrach Vick who fought in the
Revolutionary War and then left Virginia for Livingston county,
Kentucky in the early 1800’s (his son John Leonidas Vick wrote a
history of this line in 1895). Other Vicks were to be found in
North Carolina. Dr. Joshua Vick of
Greensboro, North Carolina gave his name to Vick’s VapoRub, the
which made its name during the flu epidemic of 1918. Edmund Vick
left North Carolina for Alabama and Texas in the 1860’s and 70’s.

Newit Vick, a planter and Methodist minister from Virginia, had
obtained title to the lands of the Walnut Hills in Mississippi about
1811 with the intention of founding a town there. But he died in
1819 before he had time to implement his plan. The town did
materialize in 1825 and was named Vicksburg. The house of Newit’s
daughter Martha, built in 1830, still stands in the town. Henry
, his grandson, died in a duel in 1859, just before his
wedding day.

There was another English Vick who came to America. James Vick
had arrived with his parents from Portsmouth in 1833. He founded
the Vick Seed Company in Rochester, New York. He was to be one of
the most successful horticultural seedsmen, writers, and merchandisers
of his day.

German Vicks.
But the largest number of Vicks came from Germany. They included:

  • Hans
    Peter Vick
    from Holstein in German-speaking Denmark.
    He arrived in Minnesota in 1869. He taught dancing lessons in
    Minneapolis where he met his wife. They settled in
    Richland, North Dakota in the 1880’s.
  • Peter Christian Vick from Godenstorf near Hamburg who came to
    Dickinson, Iowa in the 1870’s.
  • and Heinrich
    from Mecklenberg who came to Michigan also in the

Some immigrants from
other places
changed their names to Vick. Jonas Vik from Norway became Vick in
1880 Minnesota census and Jan Nepomuk Vich from the present-day Czech
Republic became John Vick in the Wisconsin 1910 census.


Vick Miscellany

Thomas Veke of Randwick, Gloucestershire.  In Hudson
Powell’s A History of Standish, Gloucestershire the following commentary appeared:

“In 1549, William Sawle and William Bridges
paid into the Court of Augmentations the sum of £1,228 16s. 6d, in exchange for
sundry properties, including ‘the land, one acre, called Norfeld in Randwicke
within Standishe, in the tenure of Thomas Wike, given to a lamp in the
Church of Standish.  It is probable that
the name Wike became Vicke a century later.”

Powell in fact believed it probable that this Thomas Wike was
the Thomas
Veke that was buried in Randwick in 1574. 

Richard Vick, Watchmaker.  The Database of Court Officers in England 1660-1837 showed that Richard Vick became watchmaker to King George I in 1722 and held
that position until the death of George I in 1727.
The probability is that this Vick was of
German origin.

William Vick of Minchinhampton and Bristol.  William Vick was a wealthy Bristol wine merchant who died in 1754 and left some interesting
instructions in his will.

According to
his will, the sum of £1.000 should be invested until it reached the sum
of £10,000, an amount which would pay for the construction of a stone
bridge across the Clifton gorge.  The
seed money did increase over time but it was not until 1831 that work
began on
what became known as the Clifton suspension bridge.

Vick is believed to have been born in
the village of Minchinhampton.  He left
£300 there for bread and a sermon for the poor.  His
widow Rebecca had in 1759 “settled a rent
charge of five pounds four shillings to pay a poor woman to teach 15
poor girls
of the village to read.”  When she died
in 1768 she left £200 for “poor housekeepers.”

Henry Vick and His Duel.  Henry Vick died in a duel in
1859, just before his wedding day.  This was the account of how he died:

wanted both to save his honor and to keep his promise to Helen.
during the duel, when the two men were to face each other and await a
count of
three, Henry deliberately fired his rifle harmlessly into the sky on
the count
of “one.”  James Stith could see that he was in no danger.
expected that James would discharge his weapon into the air as
Instead, James aimed his weapon at Henry’s head and shot him.”

had died at the age of twenty-five.  Helen
received a telegram delivering the
terrible news of the duel and informing her that Henry’s body was on a
to Vicksburg.  She was hardened with
grief over her lost love and guilty over the promise she had extracted
Henry not to duel that had prevented Henry from defending himself.

At the Chapel of the Cross, which had so
recently been prepared for Henry’s and Helen’s wedding, the body of
Henry Vick
was laid to rest in a grave too wide for his box alone.  It
was said that Helen wore her wedding dress
to the funeral.  Henry’s father died
almost a year later, having never come to terms with the loss of his
eldest son.

Heinrich Vicks from Mecklenburg.  There was
a Heinrich Vick recorded as being born in Schwerin, Mecklenburg in 1724.

Heinrich Vick, born in Ravensburg, Mecklenburg
in 1846, came to America in 1875 on the Pomerania
through the ports of Hamburg and Le Havre.
He settled to farm in Michigan and changed his name to John Vick. Another Heinrich Vick from Mecklenburg had
arrived earlier in the 1850’s.  He became
Henry Vick in America and settled in Minnesota.
A third Heinrich Vick from this area was to be found in Missouri
in the 1850’s.

Hans Peter Vick and His Brothers.  Hans Peter Vick was born in Denmark in 1842.  He had
two brothers, Mads Hansen and Christian, who emigrated in Minnesota
with him in
the 1870’s.  Hans Peter moved onto
Richland county, North Dakota to homestead; Mads married and settled to
farm in
Kandiyohi county, Minnesota; while Christian, according to family lore,
the military and was never heard from again.


Select Vick Names

  • Dr. Joshua Vick from North Carolina gave his name to Vick’s VapoRub, the medicine which made
    its name during the flu epidemic of 1918.
  • Michael Vick is a star American football quarterback who has controversially spent time in prison for his involvement in an illegal dog fighting ring.

Select Vick Numbers Today

  • 1,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Gloucestershire)
  • 5,000 in America (most numerous in North Carolina)
  • 1,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)


Select Vick and Like Surnames 

The first wave of German immigration into America came in the early 1700’s from the Rhine Palatine and Switzerland.  They were fleeing religious persecution at home.  Most ended up in Pennsylvania, bringing their Mennonite church with them.  Some went to the Mohawk Valley in upstate New York.  Their Germanic names often changed under English rule to English-style names.  Thus Fischer became Fisher, Schneider Snyder, Hubner Hoover and so forth.

The reasons for immigration were different in the 19th century – in search of a better life, sometimes to avoid the draft.  They came from all German states and went not just to Pennsylvania but all over as the middle and west of the country was opening up.  And they brought German skills with them, notably beer-making.

Here are some of the notable German surnames in America that you can check out.




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