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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Where did the English Biggerstaff family come from? What is the English Biggerstaff family crest and coat of arms? When did the Biggerstaff family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Biggerstaff family history?

The ancestors of the Biggerstaff surname lived among the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture. The name comes from when they lived in or near the village of Bickerstaffe, which was located near Ormskirk in the county of Lancashire.

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Before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, French and other languages became incorporated into English through the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the literate. The variations of the surname Biggerstaff include Bickerstaffe, Bickerstaff, Bickerstath, Bickerstathe, Bickersteth and many more.

First found in Lancashire, at Bickerstaffe, a village and civil parish in the West Lancashire district. The village dates back to at least the 12th century when it was listed as Bikerstad and literally meant "landing place of the bee-keepers" from the Old English words bicere + staeth. [1] However, another reference claims the name came from the Old English word "bicker," meaning to skirmish or contend, as in bicker-staff, a weapon analogous to a quarter-staff. [2] This latter interpretation only occurs once through our research library and is mentioned here for reference purposes only as the former interpretation is more likely.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Biggerstaff research. Another 95 words(7 lines of text) covering the years 1639, 1714, 1685, 1713 and are included under the topic Early Biggerstaff History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 65 words(5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Biggerstaff Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Biggerstaff family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 155 words(11 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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A great wave of immigration to the New World was the result of the enormous political and religious disarray that struck England at that time. Families left for the New World in extremely large numbers. The long journey was the end of many immigrants and many more arrived sick and starving. Still, those who made it were rewarded with an opportunity far greater than they had known at home in England. These emigrant families went on to make significant contributions to these emerging colonies in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers carried this name or one of its variants:

Biggerstaff Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • James Biggerstaff, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1844
  • John Biggerstaff, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1844
  • Joseph Biggerstaff, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1856
  • Thomas Biggerstaff, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1868

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  • Sarah Biggerstaff, American Lecturer in the Practice of Leadership at Yale School of Management
  • Jerry Biggerstaff, American Proessor of Psychology at West Coast University, Los Angeles
  • Sean Biggerstaff (b. 1983), Scottish actor, best known for his role as Oliver Wood in the Harry Potter film series
  • Antoinette Biggerstaff (b. 1947), Irish actress, known for her role in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1969)
  • Deborah Biggerstaff, British Lecturer & Senior Research Fellow at Warwick Medical School


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  • Biggerstaff 1978: Being an Updating of the Family History and Genealogy of the North Carolina Biggerstaffs and Related Families by Ralph Lydron Biggerstaff.
  • Isaac Garinger Davis, His Davis and Biggerstaff Families by Elizabeth Davis Thompson.
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  1. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.

Other References

  1. Burke, Sir Bernard. Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry: Including American Families with British Ancestry. (2 Volumes). London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  2. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  3. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  4. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  5. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  6. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  7. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  8. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  9. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
  10. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
  11. ...

The Biggerstaff Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Biggerstaff Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 20 December 2013 at 09:55.

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