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An excerpt from archives copyright 2000 - 2016

The name Hitchens has a rich and ancient history. It is an Anglo-Saxon name that was originally derived from the baptismal name Richard. As the naming tradition grew in Europe baptismal names began to be introduced in many countries. Baptismal names were sometimes given in honor of Christian saints and other biblical figures. There are very few Christian countries in Europe that did not adopt surnames from these religious figures.


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 Hitchens include Hitchins, Hitchen, Hitchens, Hitchin, Hitchings, Hitchins, Hitching and many more.

First found in Hertfordshire at Hitchin, a market town and parish, and the head of a union, in the hundred of Hitchin and Pirton. [1] The place name pre-dates the Norman Conquest as the first record the place was found c. 945 as Hiccam. By the time of the Domesday Book, the town was known as Hiz, and literally meant "place in the territory of the tribe called Hicce. " [2] The river Hiz is nearby and no doubt the river's name was derived from the same. As far as the surname is concerned, the first record of the name was John Hichum who was listed in the Rotuli Hundredorum of 1279 in Oxfordshire. A few years later, the name Hichoun was listed in the Assize Rolls of Cheshire in 1286. [3]


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Hitchens research. Another 151 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1321, 1279, 1332, 1665, 1675 and 1727 are included under the topic Early Hitchens History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 33 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Hitchens Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


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:

Hitchens Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Arthur Hitchens settled in Maine in 1616
  • John Hitchens settled in Virginia in 1654
  • Margaret and Anne Hitchens settled in Barbados in 1663

Hitchens Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Richard Hitchens, who landed in America in 1760-1763
  • William Hitchens, who arrived in America in 1760-1763
  • Richard and William Hitchens settled in New England in 1761

Hitchens Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Joseph Hitchens arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Santipore" in 1848
  • Mary Ann Hitchens arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Santipore" in 1848
  • John Hitchens, aged 25, arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Thomas Arbuthnot"
  • Thomas Hitchens, aged 24, arrived in South Australia in 1857 aboard the ship "Burlington"


  • Julia Clara Catharine Dolores Birk Olsen Hitchens (1907-1973), better known as Dolores Hitchens, an American mystery novelist who wrote under the pseudonyms D. B. Olsen, Dolan Birkley and Noel Burke
  • Ivon Hitchens (1893-1979), English painter, member of the 'London Group' of artists
  • Gerry Hitchens (1934-1983), English footballer
  • Timothy Mark "Tim" Hitchens CMG, LVO (b. 1962), British diplomat, Assistant Private Secretary to the Queen, British Ambassador to Japan (2012-)
  • Christopher Eric Hitchens (1949-2011), British author, journalist and literary critic
  • Peter Hitchens (b. 1951), British author, journalist and broadcaster


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  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  3. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)

Other References

  1. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  2. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  3. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  4. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  5. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  6. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  7. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  8. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  9. Shirley, Evelyn Philip. Noble and Gentle Men of England Or Notes Touching The Arms and Descendants of the Ancient Knightley and Gentle Houses of England Arranged in their Respective Counties 3rd Edition. Westminster: John Bowyer Nichols and Sons, 1866. Print.
  10. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  11. ...

The Hitchens Family Crest was acquired from the archives. The Hitchens 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 May 2015 at 13:12.

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