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

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

The Anglo-Saxon name Beckwith comes from when the family resided at Beckwith in the Yorkshire parish of Pannal, and it is from this location that the name Beckwith is derived. The distinguished name Beckwith is derived from the Old English word bece, which means beech, and the Old Norse word vior, which means wood. Thus the surname Beckwith indicates the proximity of the town to a grove of beech trees. The name of Beckwith is said to have been changed from Malbie in the 12th century.

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Before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, French and other languages became incorporated into English through the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the literate. The variations of the surname Beckwith include Beckwith, Beckworth, Beckworthe and others.

First found in Yorkshire, where they held a family seat from early times, some say long before the Norman Conquest in 1066.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Beckwith research. Another 232 words(17 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Beckwith History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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

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A great wave of immigration to the New World was the result of the enormous political and religious disarray that struck England at that time. Families left for the New World in extremely large numbers. The long journey was the end of many immigrants and many more arrived sick and starving. Still, those who made it were rewarded with an opportunity far greater than they had known at home in England. These emigrant families went on to make significant contributions to these emerging colonies in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers carried this name or one of its variants:

Beckwith Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • William Beckwith, who landed in Jamestown, Va in 1607
  • Robert Beckwith, aged 21, arrived in Virginia in 1635
  • Matthew Beckwith who settled in Connecticut in 1635
  • Matthew Beckwith, who landed in Connecticut in 1636
  • Georg Beckwith, who landed in Maryland in 1648


Beckwith Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Sir Marmaduke Beckwith, who arrived in Virginia in 1709
  • Sir Marmaduke Beckwith of Aldborough who settled in Richmond County, Virginia in 1748

Beckwith Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Joseph Beckwith, who arrived in New York in 1831
  • Henry Beckwith, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850
  • W Beckwith, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851
  • G G Beckwith, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851
  • B B Beckwith, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1855


Beckwith Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • John Beckwith, aged 18, a labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Himalaya"
  • John Beckwith arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Himalaya" in 1849

Beckwith Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • William Beckwith, aged 41, a joiner, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Ionic" in 1884
  • Hannah Beckwith, aged 40, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Ionic" in 1884
  • John Beckwith, aged 11, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Ionic" in 1884
  • George Beckwith, aged 9, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Ionic" in 1884
  • Mary E. Beckwith, aged 17, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Ionic" in 1884

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  • James Carroll Beckwith (1852-1917), American portrait painter
  • Jonathan Beckwith, American microbiologist and geneticist, Professor at Harvard Medical School
  • Sandra Shank Beckwith (b. 1943), American judge
  • Brigadier-General Edward Anson Beckwith (b. 1879), American Director of Selective Service, South Dakota (1940-1947)
  • Colonel Charles Alvin "Charlie" Beckwith (1929-1994), known as Chargin' Charlie, United States Army officer credited with the creation of Delta Force
  • James Pierson Beckwith (1798-1866), better known as James Pierson Beckwourth, an African American mountain man, fur trader, and explorer who discovered Beckwourth Pass
  • Mr. Richard Leonard Beckwith, aged 37, American First Class passenger from New York City, New York who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and survived the sinking escaping in life boat 5
  • Mrs. Sallie Beckwith, (née Monypeny), aged 46, American First Class passenger from New York City, New York who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and survived the sinking escaping in life boat 5
  • Sir Thomas Sydney Beckwith, English army quartermaster general in Canada during the War of 1812
  • Sir George Beckwith (1753-1823), English army officer

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  • Genealogical Sketches by Nancy Stout Beckwith.
  • A History of Descendants (including the Beckwith Family), Tomas Ansley, Warren County, Georgia by Phyllis Ansley Griffin.
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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: Jouir en bien
Motto Translation: To enjoy innocent

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  1. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  2. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
  3. 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.
  4. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  5. Burke, Sir Bernard. Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry: Including American Families with British Ancestry. (2 Volumes). London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  6. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  7. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. 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. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  10. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  11. ...

The Beckwith Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Beckwith 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 13 November 2014 at 16:21.

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