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

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

The origins of the name Nickerson are with the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from the personal name Nicholas. The Latin form of this name was Nicolaus, and it was derived from the Greek name Nikolaos, which is derived from the words nikan, which means to conquer, and laos, which means people. [1] However, the name is best remembered by an American corruption of his name: Santa Claus. The surname Nickerson uses the patronymic suffix -son.


The first dictionaries that appeared in the last few hundred years did much to standardize the English language. Before that time, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. The language was changing, incorporating pieces of other languages, and the spelling of names changed with it. Nickerson has been spelled many different ways, including Nicholson, Nichaelson, Nichalson, Nicherson and others.

First found in Cumberland and Northumberland where "most families of this name trace." [2]


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Nickerson research. Another 149 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1296, 1296, 1669, 1688, 1683, 1688, 1655, 1728, 1694, 1698, 1712, 1714, 1720 and 1725 are included under the topic Early Nickerson History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 79 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Nickerson Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Nickerson family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 145 words (10 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


Thousands of English families in this era began to emigrate the New World in search of land and freedom from religious and political persecution. Although the passage was expensive and the ships were dark, crowded, and unsafe, those who made the voyage safely were rewarded with opportunities unavailable to them in their homeland. Research into passenger and immigration lists has revealed some of the very first Nickersons to arrive in North America:

Nickerson Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • William Nickerson, aged 33, arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1637

Nickerson Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • William P Nickerson, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851
  • Alfred Nickerson, aged 18, who arrived in America, in 1893
  • A. Nickerson, aged 17, who arrived in America, in 1895

Nickerson Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • Edward G. Nickerson, aged 58, who arrived in America, in 1903
  • G. Nickerson, who arrived in America, in 1903
  • George Nickerson, aged 26, who arrived in America from Norfolk, in 1906
  • Alice Nickerson, aged 25, who arrived in America from Norfolk, in 1906
  • Albert Findsay Nickerson, who arrived in America, in 1906

Nickerson Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century

  • Charles Nickerson, aged 24, who arrived in Hillsborough, Canada, in 1916
  • Ernest Nickerson, aged 38, who arrived in Vancouver, Canada, in 1924


  • Thomas Gibson Nickerson (1805-1883), American 14 year old cabin boy aboard the whaleship Essex when is was sunk by a whale, inspiration for Herman Melville to write Moby-Dick
  • Thomas Nickerson (1810-1892), American businessman, 8th president of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway (1874 to 1880)
  • Henry Nehemiah Nickerson (1888-1979), American Boatswain's Mate Second Class in the United States Navy, recipient of the Medal of Honor
  • Denise Nickerson (b. 1957), American former actress, best known for her role as Violet Beauregarde in the movie Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)
  • Matt Nickerson (b. 1985), American professional ice hockey defenseman
  • Hardy Otto Nickerson (b. 1965), former American NFL football linebacker
  • Mr. Freeman Burnley  Nickerson (1881-1917), Canadian Able Seaman aboard the HMCS Niobe from Shelburne County, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917
  • Mrs. Nellie  Nickerson (1857-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917
  • William Henry Snyder Nickerson (1875-1954), Canadian soldier (later a major general), who received the Victoria Cross for deed in South Africa in 1900


  • Ancestors and Descendants of Helen Albion Mayhew by Vernon Roscoe Nickerson.
  • The Nickerson Family: The Descendants of William Nickerson, 1604-1690, First settler of Chatham Mass. by The Nickerson Family Association.

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: Per Castra ad astra
Motto Translation: Through the camp to the stars.


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  1. ^ Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.

Other References

  1. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1968. Print.
  2. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  3. 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).
  4. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  5. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  6. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  7. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  8. 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).
  9. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  10. Virkus, Frederick A. Ed. Immigrant Ancestors A List of 2,500 Immigrants to America Before 1750. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1964. Print.
  11. ...

The Nickerson Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Nickerson 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 9 October 2015 at 20:59.

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