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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2015

Origins Available: Belgium, English

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


Spelling variations of this family name include: Riddel, Riddle, Riddall, Ridal, Ridel, Riddle, Riddler, Riddell, De Riddler and many more.

First found in Belgium, where the name became noted for its many branches in the region, each house acquiring a status and influence which was envied by the princes of the region. Riddle is of Norman origin, the surname having been created from the personal name Ridel. The source of this personal name is somewhat uncertain: some scholars think it may come from the Old French word 'ridel,' which meant "small hill," others cite the Germanic word 'rid,' which meant "ride." The Normans, originally of Viking origin established their presence in Normandy in the 900s, and by the second half of the 11th century held present day Belgium, Holland, most of France, much of the British Isles, Southern Italy, and parts of Spain. Forms of this surname likely traveled amongst Norman controlled territories. The name was a baronial name in Aquitaine, France, where the first recorded instance of Riddle is of Gerard Riddell, Baron of Blaye, who was granted lands of the Abbey of Fons Dulcis near Bordeaux in circa 1030. One branch of the family possessed estates in Normandy in 1165. A Geoffry Ridel, recorded in Normandy in 1180 was later recorded in Scotland and received grants from King David I. The name is also known to have accompanied William I's Norman Conquest of England, which began in 1066. Bearers of Riddle were certainly a most influential family.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Riddle research. Another 227 words(16 lines of text) covering the years 162 and 1628 are included under the topic Early Riddle History in all our PDF Extended History products.


More information is included under the topic Early Riddle Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Riddle Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Eliz Riddle, who arrived in Virginia in 1704
  • Thomas Riddle, who arrived in Virginia in 1704
  • Robert Riddle, who arrived in New England in 1718
  • Hugh Riddle, who arrived in New England in 1718
  • Margaret Riddle, who arrived in Virginia in 1722

Riddle Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Johan Riddle, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1803
  • Johan Riddle, who arrived at Philadelphia in 1803
  • Christopher Riddle, aged 30, landed in New York in 1812
  • Samuel Riddle, who landed in Norfolk, Va in 1817
  • Charles Riddle, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1838

Riddle Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • John Riddle, who was recorded in Nova Scotia in 1750

Riddle Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • John Riddle, aged 30, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Billow" in 1833
  • Isabella Riddle, aged 30, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Billow" in 1833
  • Walter Riddle, aged 6, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Billow" in 1833
  • William Riddle, aged 24, a farmer, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Perseus" in 1834

Riddle Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • William Riddle, a baker, arrived in Van Diemenís Land (now Tasmania) sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • Thomas Riddle, English convict from Nottingham, who was transported aboard the "Agincourt" on July 6, 1844, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia
  • Matilda Riddle arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "The Stebonheath" in 1850
  • Thomas Riddle, aged 37, a labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Calabar"
  • George Henry Riddle, aged 36, a labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship "Nimroud"

Riddle Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • James Riddle, aged 27, a farm servant, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Bengal Merchant" in 1840


  • Almeda Riddle (1898-1986), American folk singer
  • Jeff C. Riddle (1863-1941), American Indian historian of the Modoc War
  • Johnny Riddle (1905-1998), American baseball player
  • Nelson Riddle (1921-1985), American band leader and arranger, best known for his work for Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole and many more
  • Robert M. Riddle (1812-1858), American politician, Mayor of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from 1853 to 1854
  • Theodate Pope Riddle (1867-1946), American architect
  • George Read Riddle (1817-1867), American engineer lawyer and politician, U.S. Representative and U.S. Senator from Delaware
  • Haywood Yancey Riddle (1834-1879), American politician and University professor, member of the United States House of Representatives from Tennessee
  • Oscar Riddle (1877-1968), American biologist
  • Stu Riddle (b. 1976), New Zealand footballer



  • Descendants of Hampton and Nancy Riddle, 1814-1972 by Norma Simpson.
  • A Partial History of the Riddle-Beavers Families: of Botetourt County, Virginia, Highland County, Ohio, Decatur and Page Counties, Iowa by Andree Sieverin Hoeman.

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  1. Lennard, Reginald. Rural England 1086-1135 A Study of Social and Agrarian Conditions. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959. Print.
  2. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  3. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  4. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
  5. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
  6. Hanks, Hodges, Mills and Room. The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7).
  7. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  8. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  9. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  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 Riddle Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Riddle 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 22 March 2015 at 09:07.

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