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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016


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The surname Pettus was first found in Norfolk where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor. After the Battle of Hastings in 1066, William, Duke of Normandy, having prevailed over King Harold, granted most of Britain to his many victorious Barons. It was not uncommon to find a Baron, or a Bishop, with 60 or more Lordships scattered throughout the country. These he gave to his sons, nephews and other junior lines of his family and they became known as under-tenants. They adopted the Norman system of surnames which identified the under-tenant with his holdings so as to distinguish him from the senior stem of the family. After many rebellious wars between his Barons, Duke William, commissioned a census of all England to determine in 1086, settling once and for all, who held which land. He called the census the Domesday Book, [1]CITATION[CLOSE]
Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
indicating that those holders registered would hold the land until the end of time. Hence, conjecturally, the surname is descended from the tenant of the lands of Rackheath, held by Godric, steward of the King who was recorded in the Domesday Book census of 1086.

Spelling variations of this family name include: Pettus, Pettous, Petous, Petus, Pettous, Pettes and others.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Pettus research. Another 241 words (17 lines of text) covering the years 1510, 1600, 1542, 199), 1523, 1597, 1566, 1590, 1st , 1654, 1671, 1640, 1698, 1672, 1731, 1743 and 1772 are included under the topic Early Pettus History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Thomas Pettus (1523-1597) who was Sheriff (1566) and then Mayor (1590), of the city of Norwich; Sir Thomas Pettus, 1st Baronet (d. 1654) of Rackheath in the County of Norfolk, High...

Another 39 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Pettus Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Pettus Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Theodore Pettus, who arrived in Virginia in 1622-1623
  • Thomas Pettus, who landed in Virginia in 1638
  • Eliz Pettus, who arrived in Virginia in 1657
  • Stephen Pettus, who landed in Virginia in 1664

Pettus Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Joseph Pettus, who landed in Mobile, Ala in 1858
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  • William Thomas "Bill" Pettus (1884-1924), African-American baseball first baseman in the Cuban League and Negro Leagues
  • Terry Pettus (1904-1984), American newspaper reporter and activist based in Seattle, Washington
  • William Grymes Pettus (1794-1867), American politician
  • Edmund Winston Pettus (1821-1907), American lawyer, soldier, and legislator
  • John J Pettus (1813-1867), American politician, member of the Democratic party, he was Governor of the state of Mississippi
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Citations



  1. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)

Other References

  1. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  2. Crispin, M. Jackson and Leonce Mary. Falaise Roll Recording Prominent Companions of William Duke of Normandy at the Conquest of England. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  3. Virkus, Frederick A. Ed. Immigrant Ancestors A List of 2,500 Immigrants to America Before 1750. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1964. Print.
  4. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  5. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  6. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  7. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  8. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  9. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  10. 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.
  11. ...


This page was last modified on 13 February 2015 at 21:07.

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