Beckwith History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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. [1] The name of Beckwith is said to have been changed from Malbie in the 12th century. [2]

Early Origins of the Beckwith family

The surname Beckwith was first found in Yorkshire, where "most of the armigerous families of the name spring from, and Beckwith, a hamlet in the parish of Pannal, in that county, is probably the cradle of the race. " [2] The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 include: Willelmus Bekwyt; Willelmus de Bekwyth; and Johannes de Bekwyth. [3] Later records show Richard Bekwyth in 1415 and Adam Bekwith who was a Freeman of York in 1423. [4]

"Amongst the old West Riding [of Yorkshire] names, now less frequently represented, is that of Beckwith, which was originally derived from a hamlet in that division of the county. The Beckwiths were a very numerous race, the main stock being settled at a very early period at Clint in Ripley, where it flourished until the close of the 16th century; the Beckwiths of Aldborough during the 17th and 18th centuries, who belonged to the Clint stock, received a baronetcy." [5]

This hamlet in the parish of Pannall, near Harrogate saw an exodus like many places in England in the 17th century. Many settled in Boston including "Robert Beckwith, went out in 1635 in the Transport, bound for Virginia." [6]

Early History of the Beckwith family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Beckwith research. Another 58 words (4 lines of text) covering the years 1759, 1794, 1808, 1788, 1828, 1780, 1809, 1788, 1819, 1809 and 1819 are included under the topic Early Beckwith History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Beckwith Spelling Variations

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.

Early Notables of the Beckwith family (pre 1700)

Notables of the family at this time include John Christmas Beckwith, born Dec. 25, 1759, who studied music under Dr. Philip Hayes and Dr. William Hayes. He was appointed organist of St. Peter Mancroft's, Norwich, on Jan. 16, 1794 and succeeded Garland as organist of the cathedral in 1808. He never wrote or gave his Christian name officially otherwise than 'John,' and it is believed that the name 'Christmas' was merely a playful addition made by his friends by reason...
Another 80 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Beckwith Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Beckwith Ranking

In the United States, the name Beckwith is the 2,943rd most popular surname with an estimated 9,948 people with that name. [7]


United States Beckwith migration to the United States +

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 [8]
  • Robert Beckwith, aged 21, who arrived in Virginia in 1635 [8]
  • Matthew Beckwith who settled in Connecticut in 1635
  • Matthew Beckwith, who landed in Connecticut in 1636 [8]
  • Georg Beckwith, who landed in Maryland in 1648 [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Beckwith Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Sir Marmaduke Beckwith, who arrived in Virginia in 1709 [8]
  • 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 [8]
  • Henry Beckwith, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850 [8]
  • W Beckwith, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851 [8]
  • G G Beckwith, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851 [8]
  • B B Beckwith, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1855 [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Beckwith migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Beckwith Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Richard Beckwith, British Convict who was convicted in Wellington Barracks Court Martial for 7 years, transported aboard the "Coromandel" on 25th June 1838, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [9]
  • Mr. James Beckwith, English convict who was convicted in Essex, England for 14 years, transported aboard the "Eden" on 8th July 1840, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [10]
  • Mr. John Beckwith, English convict who was convicted in Ipswich, Suffolk, England for 10 years, transported aboard the "Earl Grey" on 4th October 1842, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [11]
  • Mr. George Beckwith, English convict who was convicted in Chelmsford, Essex, England for 10 years, transported aboard the "Eden" on 30th September 1848, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Island) [12]
  • John Beckwith, aged 18, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Himalaya" [13]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Beckwith migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Beckwith Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • William Beckwith, aged 41, a joiner, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Ionic" in 1884
  • Hannah Beckwith, aged 40, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Ionic" in 1884
  • John Beckwith, aged 11, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Ionic" in 1884
  • George Beckwith, aged 9, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Ionic" in 1884
  • Mary E. Beckwith, aged 17, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Ionic" in 1884

Contemporary Notables of the name Beckwith (post 1700) +

  • Thomas Joseph "Joe" Beckwith (1955-2021), American baseball pitcher who played seven seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB), World Series champion (1985)
  • James Pierson Beckwith (1798-1866), better known as James Pierson Beckwourth, an African American mountain man, fur trader, and explorer who discovered Beckwourth Pass
  • Colonel Charles Alvin "Charlie" Beckwith (1929-1994), known as Chargin' Charlie, United States Army officer credited with the creation of Delta Force
  • Brigadier-General Edward Anson Beckwith (b. 1879), American Director of Selective Service, South Dakota (1940-1947) [14]
  • Jonathan Beckwith, American microbiologist and geneticist, Professor at Harvard Medical School
  • James Carroll Beckwith (1852-1917), American portrait painter
  • Charles Beckwith, American politician, Delegate to New York State Constitutional Convention 30th District, 1894 [15]
  • Cecile Beckwith, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Ohio, 1944 [15]
  • C. Albert Beckwith, American Republican politician, Member of Connecticut State House of Representatives from Franklin; Elected 1948 [15]
  • Austin Beckwith, American Democratic Party politician, Candidate for Connecticut State House of Representatives from New Hartford, 1904 [15]
  • ... (Another 52 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. Richard Chichester Beckwith (b. 1941), British Lieutenant, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking, was wounded in action 1941 [16]
RMS Titanic
  • 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 [17]
  • 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 [17]


The Beckwith Motto +

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


Suggested Readings for the name Beckwith +

  • Genealogical Sketches by Nancy Stout Beckwith.
  • A History of Descendants (including the Beckwith Family), Tomas Ansley, Warren County, Georgia by Phyllis Ansley Griffin.

  1. ^ Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges, A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8)
  2. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  3. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  4. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  5. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  6. ^ Hotten, John Camden (ed), The original lists of persons of quality; emigrants; religious exiles; political rebels; serving men sold for a term of years; apprentices; children stolen; maidens pressed; and others who went from Great Britain to the American plantations 1600-1700.New York: J. W. Bouton, 1874, Digital
  7. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  8. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  9. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 19th March 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/coromandel
  10. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 20th October 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/eden
  11. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 16th August 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/earl-gray
  12. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 15th November 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/eden
  13. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The HIMALAYA 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849Himalaya.htm
  14. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2011, October 6) Edward Beckwith. Retrieved from http://generals.dk/general/Beckwith/Edward_Anson/USA.html
  15. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 14) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  16. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html
  17. ^ Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from http://www.titanicfacts.net/titanic-passenger-list.html


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