Show ContentsPettet History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancient Norman culture that was established in England after the Conquest of 1066 produced the name of Pettet. It was given to a small person, or the smaller of two people with the same given name. Pettit derives from the Anglo-Norman-French word petit, meaning small. 1

Early Origins of the Pettet family

The surname Pettet was first found in the Domesday Book of 1086 where Aluric Petit was listed as holding lands in Hampshire at that time. 2 This entry is most interesting. First of all, the spelling of the surname is essentially the same as in use today - most entries were in Latin which is often very different that the English version. Secondly, this entry is one of the very rare entries where a forename (Aluric) and a surname (Petit) were recorded. Almost all of the entries at this time were a surname with no forename.

The Petet variant is also very interesting. "This family are known to have flourished at Ardevors, co. Cornwall, as early as the time of Henry I., and to have had a succession of six knights. The name was anciently written De Petyt, and it must therefore be local." 3

This entry and the previous Domesday entry confirm the Anglo-Norman heritage of this family. Looking back in Normandy, the source Magni Rotuli Scaccarii Normanniae lists "Ralph, William, Bernard, Herbert Parvus or le Petit, Normandy 1180-95" 1 which means that the name concurrently developed in England and Normandy at the same time or in other words, not all of the family emigrated to England after the Conquest.

The Feet of Fines in Essex listed John le Petit in 1228. 4 The Hundredorum Rolls lists Roger Petyt in County Norfolk in 1273. Robert le Petit, was recorded in County Hereford, during the reign of Edward I (1272-1307.) 5

Some of the family were found in the parish of Filley in Cornwall. The "manor called Ardevora, or Ardevro, which is said to comprise the manors of Treveneage and St. Mawes, belonged anciently to the family of Petit, whose co-heiresses in the reign of Henry VI. carried it in marriage to Arundell of Tolverne and Sayer." 6

Early History of the Pettet family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Pettet research. Another 138 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1171, 1186, 1191, 1194, 1200, 1213, 1215, 1400, 1510, 1536, 1547, 1552, 1554, 1558, 1641, 1707 and 1712 are included under the topic Early Pettet History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Pettet Spelling Variations

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 Pettit, Petit, Petitt, Petet and others.

Early Notables of the Pettet family

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Alexander Petit, also known as Alexander de Balscot, (died 1400), an English-born, leading Irish cleric of the late fourteenth century, holding the offices of Bishop of Ossory, Bishop of Meath, Treasurer of Ireland and Lord Chancellor of Ireland.Thomas Petit, Petyt or Petyte (1536-1554) was an English printer in St. Paul's Churchyard, London, related to the famous John Petit the Paris printer. Sir Charles Pettit was a notable civic leader of the 17th century; and William Petyt (Petit) (1641?-1707)...
Another 85 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Pettet Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Pettet family to Ireland

Some of the Pettet family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 163 words (12 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Pettet migration to the United States +

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 Pettet or a variant listed above:

Pettet Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • W Pettet, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851 7
  • Jane Pettet, aged 43, who landed in America from London, in 1897
Pettet Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Robert D. Pettet, aged 20, who landed in America, in 1905
  • Karl Pettet, aged 18, who immigrated to the United States, in 1908
  • Marie Pettet, aged 28, who landed in America, in 1909
  • Marie Pettet, aged 32, who settled in Philadelphia, U.S.A., in 1914
  • William H. Pettet, aged 18, who settled in America from London, England, in 1917
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Pettet migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Pettet Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century
  • George Pettet, aged 31, who immigrated to Toronto, Canada, in 1913

Australia Pettet migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Pettet Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. George Pettet, English convict who was convicted in Norfolk, Norfolkshire, England for 14 years, transported aboard the "Augusta Jessie" on 10th August 1838, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) 8

Contemporary Notables of the name Pettet (post 1700) +

  • William Varney Pettet (1858-1938), Canadian farmer and politician in Ontario who represented Prince Edward in the Canadian House of Commons from 1896 to 1900
  • Joanna Pettet (b. 1942), born Joanna Jane Salmon, former British actress, best known for her roles in Casino Royale (1967) and The Night of the Generals (1967)

  1. 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)
  2. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  3. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  4. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  5. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  6. Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print
  7. Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  8. Convict Records of Australia. Retrieved 23rd August 2020 from on Facebook