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

Where did the English Tibbetts family come from? When did the Tibbetts family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Tibbetts family history?

Tibbetts is a name of Anglo-Saxon origin and came from the Old French personal name Theobald, which comes from the Germanic name Theudebald. It probably came to England in the wake of the Norman invasion of 1066, when King William actively encouraged immigration of skilled craftsmen and administrators from the continent. Theobald means "people bold" and was a common continental name. Patronymic surnames arose out of the vernacular and religious given name traditions. The vernacular or regional naming tradition is the oldest and most pervasive type of patronymic surname. According to this custom, names were originally composed of vocabulary elements from the local language. Vernacular names that were derived from ancient Germanic personal names have cognates in most European languages. For example, the court of Charlemagne (742-814) was Christian and Latin-speaking, but the Frankish dialect of Old German was commonly used for personal names. Vernacular names were widespread throughout Normandy. Accordingly, many typical English and French names are in fact, originally of Germanic origin and often have cognates in other European countries. This particular patronym is derived from a diminutive of the name Theobald; a common diminutive of Theobald was Tib, Tib-et is a double diminutive (a diminutive of a diminutive) of the name.


Spelling variations in names were a common occurrence before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago. In the Middle Ages, even the literate spelled their names differently as the English language incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other European languages. Many variations of the name Tibbetts have been found, including Tibbits, Tibbets, Tibbit, Tibbet and others.

First found in Northampton where they were believed to be seated since shortly after the Conquest in 1066.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Tibbetts research. Another 238 words (17 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Tibbetts History in all our PDF Extended History products.


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


Families began migrating abroad in enormous numbers because of the political and religious discontent in England. Often faced with persecution and starvation in England, the possibilities of the New World attracted many English people. Although the ocean trips took many lives, those who did get to North America were instrumental in building the necessary groundwork for what would become for new powerful nations. Among the first immigrants of the name Tibbetts, or a variant listed above to cross the Atlantic and come to North America were :

Tibbetts Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Walter Tibbetts, who arrived in Salem, Massachusetts in 1651
  • Jeremiah Tibbetts, who arrived in New England in 1656
  • Henry Tibbetts, who arrived in New England in 1665
  • Thomas Tibbetts, who landed in Maryland in 1675

Tibbetts Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • J Tibbetts, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850
  • A Tibbetts, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851
  • Enoch Tibbetts, aged 52, who emigrated to the United States from Cradley Heath, in 1892
  • Mary Tibbetts, aged 18, who emigrated to the United States, in 1892
  • R.M. Tibbetts, aged 45, who settled in America, in 1893

Tibbetts Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • Lewis Tibbetts, aged 45, who emigrated to America from London, in 1900
  • Hannah Tibbetts, aged 54, who emigrated to the United States, in 1903
  • E. Rebe Tibbetts, aged 21, who landed in America from Ely, England, in 1904
  • Elizabeth Tibbetts, aged 44, who emigrated to the United States from Ely, England, in 1904
  • Henry Arthur Tibbetts, aged 20, who landed in America from Leicester, in 1905

Tibbetts Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Solomon Tibbetts, who arrived in Canada in 1828


  • Margaret Joy Tibbetts (1919-2010), American diplomat, United States Ambassador to Norway from 1964 to 1969
  • John C. Tibbetts (b. 1946), American film critic, historian, painter and pianist
  • George W. Tibbetts (b. 1845), American merchant and hops farmer who was a well-known critic of Chinese labor being used in place of white labor (c. 1885)
  • Willard Lewis Tibbetts Jr. (1903-1992), American Olympic bronze medalist runner at the 1924 Summer Olympics
  • Steve Tibbetts (b. 1954), American guitarist
  • Billy Tibbetts (b. 1974), American NHL professional hockey player
  • Darwin Kurt Tibbetts OBE (b. 1954), Caymanian politician, Leader of Government Business (2005 to 2009), Leader of the Opposition (2009 to 2011)
  • Michael Tibbetts, Professor of Biology at Bard College


  • Mary Tibbetts Dennison, 1877-1970, Her Genealogical Lines by Bertie Holmes Boodry.


  1. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  2. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  3. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  4. Virkus, Frederick A. Ed. Immigrant Ancestors A List of 2,500 Immigrants to America Before 1750. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1964. Print.
  5. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
  6. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  7. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  8. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
  9. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  10. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  11. ...

This page was last modified on 12 September 2014 at 12:42.

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