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An excerpt from archives copyright 2000 - 2016

The name Diggs is rooted in the ancient Norman culture that arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. It was a name for someone who was a person who had a duck-like gait or bore some other resemblance to a duck. The surname Diggs is derived from Old English words duk, dukke, duck, doke, and dook, which all mean duck. However, these words are often indistinguishable from the various Old English words duc, duk, duke, douc, and doke, which all came from the Old French word duc. This ultimately came from the Latin word dux, which means leader, and is a derivative of the verb ducere, which means to lead.


The surname Diggs was first found in Norfolk 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.

Endless spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled Duck, Duche, Ducke and others.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Diggs research. Another 135 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1300, 1632, 1691, 1515, 1559, 1546, 1595, 1636, 1639, 1638 and 1672 are included under the topic Early Diggs History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Nicholas Duck, a prominent lawyer in the city of London; Sir John Duck, 1st Baronet ( c. 1632-1691), English politicin, Mayor of Durham; Leonard Digges (c.1515-c.1559), English mathematician and surveyor, credited with the...

Another 39 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Diggs Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


Some of the Diggs family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 49 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


To escape the political and religious persecution within England at the time, many English families left for the various British colonies abroad. The voyage was extremely difficult, though, and the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving. But for those who made it, the trip was most often worth it. Many of the families who arrived went on to make valuable contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Diggs or a variant listed above:

Diggs Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Richard Diggs, who landed in Virginia in 1645
  • Edward Diggs, who arrived in Virginia in 1650

Diggs Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • W H Diggs, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850
  • N. E. Diggs, aged 55, who settled in America, in 1894

Diggs Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • Mable Diggs, who emigrated to Topeka, Kansas, in 1904
  • John Diggs, aged 43, who landed in America from London, in 1904
  • Harry Diggs, aged 38, who emigrated to America from Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1907
  • Diggs, aged 33, who landed in America from Dublin, Ireland, in 1912
  • Beatrice Diggs, aged 28, who emigrated to Paducah, Kentucky, in 1913
  • ...

  • Reese Wilson "Diggsy" Diggs (1915-1978), American Major League Baseball pitcher in the 1930s
  • Elder Watson Diggs (1883-1947), American principal founder of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity
  • Joetta Clark Diggs (b. 1962), American track and field athlete
  • Melanie Paige "Laney" Diggs (b. 1992), American figure skater
  • Jimmy Diggs (b. 1955), American television screenwriter, best known for his work on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager
  • Na'il Diggs (b. 1978), American NFL football linebacker for the San Diego Chargers
  • Charles Coles Diggs Jr (1922-1998), African-American politician, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Michigan's 13th district (1955 to 1980)
  • Scott Leo "Taye" Diggs (b. 1971), American theatre, film and television actor, best known for his roles in the Broadway musical Rent
  • Charles Coles Diggs Sr. (1894-1967), American politician, Representative from Michigan 1st District, 1948, 1952
  • Bertha J. Diggs, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from New York, 1944
  • ...

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    Other References

    1. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
    2. Lennard, Reginald. Rural England 1086-1135 A Study of Social and Agrarian Conditions. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959. Print.
    3. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
    4. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
    5. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
    6. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
    7. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
    8. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
    9. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
    10. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
    11. ...

    The Diggs Family Crest was acquired from the archives. The Diggs 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 15 January 2016 at 13:50.

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