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

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

The origins of the name Nickerson are with the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from the personal name Nicholas. The Latin form of this name was Nicolaus, and it was derived from the Greek name Nikolaos, which is derived from the words nikan, which means to conquer, and laos, which means people. However, the name is best remembered by an American corruption of his name: Santa Claus. The surname Nickerson features the common patronymic suffix -son.

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The first dictionaries that appeared in the last few hundred years did much to standardize the English language. Before that time, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. The language was changing, incorporating pieces of other languages, and the spelling of names changed with it. Nickerson has been spelled many different ways, including Nicholson, Nichaelson, Nichalson, Nicherson and others.

First found in Cumberland where they held a family seat from early times and their first records appeared on the early census rolls taken by the early Kings of Britain to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Nickerson research. Another 149 words(11 lines of text) covering the years 1296, 1296, 1669, 1688, 1683, 1688, 1655, 1728, 1694, 1698, 1712, 1714, 1720 and 1725 are included under the topic Early Nickerson History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 79 words(6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Nickerson Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Nickerson family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 145 words(10 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Thousands of English families in this era began to emigrate the New World in search of land and freedom from religious and political persecution. Although the passage was expensive and the ships were dark, crowded, and unsafe, those who made the voyage safely were rewarded with opportunities unavailable to them in their homeland. Research into passenger and immigration lists has revealed some of the very first Nickersons to arrive in North America:

Nickerson Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • William Nickerson, aged 33, arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1637

Nickerson Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • William P Nickerson, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851

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  • Hardy Otto Nickerson (b. 1965), former American NFL football linebacker
  • Matt Nickerson (b. 1985), American professional ice hockey defenseman
  • Denise Nickerson (b. 1957), American former actress, best known for her role as Violet Beauregarde in the movie Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)
  • Henry Nehemiah Nickerson (1888-1979), American Boatswain's Mate Second Class in the United States Navy, recipient of the Medal of Honor
  • Thomas Nickerson (1810-1892), American businessman, 8th president of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway (1874 to 1880)
  • Thomas Gibson Nickerson (1805-1883), American 14 year old cabin boy aboard the whaleship Essex when is was sunk by a whale, inspiration for Herman Melville to write Moby-Dick
  • William Henry Snyder Nickerson (1875-1954), Canadian soldier (later a major general), who received the Victoria Cross for deed in South Africa in 1900


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  • Ancestors and Descendants of Helen Albion Mayhew by Vernon Roscoe Nickerson.
  • The Nickerson Family: The Descendants of William Nickerson, 1604-1690, First settler of Chatham Mass. by The Nickerson Family Association.
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The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Per Castra ad astra
Motto Translation: Through the camp to the stars.

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  1. 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).
  2. Virkus, Frederick A. Ed. Immigrant Ancestors A List of 2,500 Immigrants to America Before 1750. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1964. Print.
  3. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  4. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  5. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  6. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
  7. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  8. Hanks, Hodges, Mills and Room. The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7).
  9. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  10. Innes, Thomas and Learney. The Tartans of the Clans and Families of Scotland 1st Edition. Edinburgh: W & A. K. Johnston Limited, 1938. Print.
  11. ...

The Nickerson Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Nickerson 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 15 June 2014 at 17:00.

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