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

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

Dickens is an ancient name whose history on English soil dates back to the wave of emigration that followed the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. The name comes from the Norman baptismal name which means the son of Diccon, which is a diminution of the parent name, Richard. Baptismal names began to appear as surnames relatively late in the growth of the naming tradition. This is a little surprising, given the popularity of biblical figures in the Christian countries of Europe. Nevertheless, surnames derived from baptismal names grew in popularity during the Middle Ages, and have become one of the foremost sources for surnames. Most of the early appearances of the name were found in the French form Dicon, which lingered until the 16th century.


Multitudes of spelling variations are a hallmark of Anglo Norman names. Most of these names evolved in the 11th and 12th century, in the time after the Normans introduced their own Norman French language into a country where Old and Middle English had no spelling rules and the languages of the court were French and Latin. To make matters worse, medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, so names frequently appeared differently in the various documents in which they were recorded. The name was spelled Dickens, Dickins, Diggons, Diggens, Diggins, Dikens, Digons, Diquon and many more.

First found in Staffordshire where they held a family seat from very early times and were granted lands by Duke William of Normandy, their liege Lord, for their distinguished assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Dickens research. Another 199 words(14 lines of text) covering the years 1150, 1812, and 1870 are included under the topic Early Dickens History in all our PDF Extended History products.


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


Some of the Dickens family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 128 words(9 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


Because of this political and religious unrest within English society, many people decided to immigrate to the colonies. Families left for Ireland, North America, and Australia in enormous numbers, traveling at high cost in extremely inhospitable conditions. The New World in particular was a desirable destination, but the long voyage caused many to arrive sick and starving. Those who made it, though, were welcomed by opportunities far greater than they had known at home in England. Many of these families went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Dickens or a variant listed above:

Dickens Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Edward Dickens who settled in Barbados in 1683

Dickens Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Henry Dickens, aged 26, landed in New York in 1812
  • Samuel Dickens, aged 46, arrived in New York in 1812
  • Mr. Dickens, who arrived in Mobile, Ala in 1822
  • Henry Dickens settled in Nantucket in 1823

Dickens Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • William Dickens, who landed in Esquimalt, British Columbia in 1862

Dickens Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Andrew Dickens, aged 24, arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Isabella Watson" in 1845
  • Henry Dickens, aged 25, arrived in South Australia in 1850 aboard the ship "Stag"
  • Henry Dickens, aged 27, a schoolmaster, arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "South Sea"

Dickens Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Alice E. Dickens, aged 13, a servant, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Bebington" in 1872


  • Gerald R Dickens Ph.D., Professor of Earth Science at Rice University
  • William T Dickens, American Nonresident Senior Fellow, Economic Studies at the Brookings Institute
  • Hazel Jane Dickens (1935-2011), American bluegrass singer and songwriter
  • Phil Dickens (1915-1983), American college football player and coach
  • James Cecil "Little Jimmy" Dickens (1920-2015), American country music singer
  • Charles John Huffam Dickens (1812-1879), English novelist, considered one of the English language's greatest writers, best remembered for "A Tale of Two Cities" and "A Christmas Carol"
  • John Dickens (1785-1851), English father of the novelist Charles Dickens
  • Charles Culliford Boz Dickens (1837-1896), the first child of the novelist Charles Dickens
  • Mary 'Mamie' Dickens (1838-1896), oldest daughter of English novelist Charles Dickens
  • Admiral Sir Gerald Louis Charles Dickens KCVO, CB, CMG, RN (1879-1962), senior Royal Navy officer and the grandson of the novelist Charles Dickens



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  1. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  2. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  3. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  4. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  5. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  6. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. 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. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
  9. 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.
  10. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  11. ...

The Dickens Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Dickens 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 4 January 2015 at 15:32.

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