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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016

The distinguished surname Peterkin emerged among the industrious people of Flanders, which was an important trading partner and political ally of Britain during the Middle Ages. As a result of the frequent commercial intercourse between the Flemish and English nations, many Flemish migrants settled in Britain. In early times, people were known by only a single name. However, as the population grew and people traveled further afield, it became increasingly necessary to assume an additional name to differentiate between bearers of the same personal name. One of the most common classes of surname is the patronymic surname, which was usually derived from the first name of the person's father. Flemish surnames of this type are often characterized by the diminutive suffix -kin, which became very frequent in England during the 14th century. The surname Peterkin is derived from the personal name Peter. This is derived from the Latin name Petrus, which in turn comes from the Greek name Petros. The word petros means rock or stone. Peter was an extremely popular personal name in medieval Europe since it was the name conferred by Christ upon the apostle Simon bar Jonah. He became St. Peter and is regarded as the founding figure of the Christian Church.


The surname Peterkin was first found in Lincolnshire, where a bearer of Petrus was on record in the Domesday Book of 1086. Other early records include Ralph Peter listed in the Pipe Rolls in Hertfordshire in 1195; Luke Petre listed in London in 1282 and a William Petres listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Somerset of 1327. [1]

Flemish surnames are characterized by a large number of spelling variations. One reason for this is that medieval English lacked definite spelling rules. The spellings of surnames were also influenced by the official court languages, which were French and Latin. Names were rarely spelled consistently in medieval times. Scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to specific spelling rules, and people often had their names registered in several different forms throughout their lives. One of the greatest reasons for change is the linguistic uniqueness of the Flemish settlers in England, who spoke a language closely related to Dutch. The pronunciation and spelling of Flemish names were often altered to suit the tastes of English-speaking people. In many cases, the first, final, or middle syllables of surnames were eliminated. The name has been spelled Peters, Peter, Petre, Petry and others.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Peterkin research. Another 409 words (29 lines of text) covering the years 1603, 1643, 1645, 1549, 1613, 1598, 1660, 1631, 1699, 1505, 1572, 1626, 1684, 1633, 1706, 1688, 1689, 1713 and are included under the topic Early Peterkin History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 153 words (11 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Peterkin Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Peterkin family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 87 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


The records on immigrants and ships' passengers show a number of people bearing the name Peterkin:

Peterkin Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Abraham Peterkin, who landed in Maryland in 1673

Peterkin Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • Arindl Peterkin, aged 18, who arrived in America from St. Joseph, Barbados, in 1911
  • Joseph N. Peterkin, aged 32, who arrived in America from St. Joseph, Barbados, in 1911
  • Walter Peterkin, aged 18, who arrived in America from St. George, Granada, in 1911
  • William Peterkin, aged 50, who arrived in America from Douglas, Scotland, in 1911
  • Viney Peterkin, aged 19, who arrived in America from Barbados, in 1914

Peterkin Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century

  • Mrs. Ruth Peterkin, aged 40, who arrived in Toronto, Canada, in 1908
  • William Matthew Peterkin, aged 46, who arrived in Toronto, Canada, in 1908
  • Arthur C. Peterkin, aged 28, who arrived in Vancouver, Canada, in 1915

Peterkin Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • John Peterkin, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Almorah" on April 1817, settling in New South Wales, Australia


  • George William Peterkin (1841-1916), American cleric, the first Bishop of West Virginia
  • Freddie Lee Peterkin, also known as Freddie Lee, an American author, singer-songwriter and actor
  • Colonel Wilbur J. Peterkin (1904-1996), American Lieutenant Colonel during WWII, recipient of two Bronze Stars
  • Julia Peterkin (1880-1961), American fiction writer
  • Jamie Peterkin (b. 1982), St. Lucia Olympic swimmer in the 2000 Summer Olympics
  • Major-General Anthony Peter Grant Peterkin CB OBE (b. 1947), British House of Commons' Serjeant at Arms from 2004 to 2007


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: Invidia major
Motto Translation: Superior to envy.


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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)

Other References

  1. 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).
  2. Hanks, Hodges, Mills and Room. The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7).
  3. 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.
  4. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  5. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
  6. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  7. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
  8. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  9. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  10. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  11. ...

The Peterkin Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Peterkin 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 1 March 2016 at 10:51.

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