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

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

The name Diggs is rooted in the ancient Norman culture that arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. It was a name for someone who was a person who had a duck-like gait or bore some other resemblance to a duck. The surname Diggs is derived from Old English words duk, dukke, duck, doke, and dook, which all mean duck. However, these words are often indistinguishable from the various Old English words duc, duk, duke, douc, and doke, which all came from the Old French word duc. This ultimately came from the Latin word dux, which means leader, and is a derivative of the verb ducere, which means to lead.

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Endless spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled Duck, Duche, Ducke and others.

First found in Norfolk where they held a family seat from very early times and were granted lands by Duke William of Normandy, their liege Lord, for their distinguished assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Diggs research. Another 135 words(10 lines of text) covering the years 1300, 1632, 1691, 1515, 1559, 1546, 1595, 1636, 1639, 1638 and 1672 are included under the topic Early Diggs History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 141 words(10 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Diggs Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Diggs family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 49 words(4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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To escape the political and religious persecution within England at the time, many English families left for the various British colonies abroad. The voyage was extremely difficult, though, and the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving. But for those who made it, the trip was most often worth it. Many of the families who arrived went on to make valuable contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Diggs or a variant listed above:

Diggs Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Richard Diggs, who landed in Virginia in 1645
  • Edward Diggs, who arrived in Virginia in 1650

Diggs Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • W H Diggs, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850
  • N. E. Diggs, aged 55, who settled in America, in 1894

Diggs Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century


  • Mable Diggs, who emigrated to Topeka, Kansas, in 1904
  • John Diggs, aged 43, who landed in America from London, in 1904
  • Harry Diggs, aged 38, who emigrated to America from Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1907
  • Diggs, aged 33, who landed in America from Dublin, Ireland, in 1912
  • Beatrice Diggs, aged 28, who emigrated to Paducah, Kentucky, in 1913


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  • Scott Leo "Taye" Diggs (b. 1971), American theatre, film and television actor, best known for his roles in the Broadway musical Rent
  • Charles Coles Diggs Jr (1922-1998), African-American politician, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Michigan's 13th district (1955 to 1980)
  • Na'il Diggs (b. 1978), American NFL football linebacker for the San Diego Chargers
  • Jimmy Diggs (b. 1955), American television screenwriter, best known for his work on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager
  • Melanie Paige "Laney" Diggs (b. 1992), American figure skater
  • Joetta Clark Diggs (b. 1962), American track and field athlete
  • Elder Watson Diggs (1883-1947), American principal founder of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity
  • Reese Wilson "Diggsy" Diggs (1915-1978), American Major League Baseball pitcher in the 1930s


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  1. Virkus, Frederick A. Ed. Immigrant Ancestors A List of 2,500 Immigrants to America Before 1750. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1964. Print.
  2. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  3. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  4. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  5. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1968. Print.
  6. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  7. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  8. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  9. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  10. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  11. ...

The Diggs Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Diggs 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 24 June 2013 at 14:41.

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