Pettit History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Pettit family's name is derived from the ancient Norman culture that was established in Britain following the Norman Conquest of island in 1066. Their name originated with an early member who was 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.

Early Origins of the Pettit family

The surname Pettit was first found in Kent. The Petet variant is most 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." [1]

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." [2]

Early History of the Pettit family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Pettit research. Another 113 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1400, 1536, 1554, 1641, 1707, 1510, 1558, 1547, 1641, 1707, 1213, 1186, 1171, 1191, 1194, 1200, 1213 and 1215 are included under the topic Early Pettit History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Pettit Spelling Variations

Before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, Norman French and other languages became incorporated into English throughout the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the literate. The variations of the surname Pettit include Pettit, Petit, Petitt, Petet and others.

Early Notables of the Pettit family (pre 1700)

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 Pettit Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Pettit family to Ireland

Some of the Pettit 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 Pettit migration to the United States +

In England at this time, the uncertainty of the political and religious environment of the time caused many families to board ships for distant British colonies in the hopes of finding land and opportunity, and escaping persecution. The voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, though, and many arrived in North America sick, starved, and destitute. Those who did make it, however, were greeted with greater opportunities and freedoms that they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Early immigration records have shown some of the first Pettits to arrive on North American shores:

Pettit Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Anne Pettit, who settled in Salem, Massachusetts in 1630
  • Anne Pettit, who settled in Salem in 1630
  • Richard Pettit, who was on record in Virginia in 1636
  • Richard Pettit, who settled in Virginia in 1636
  • Rich Pettit, who arrived in Virginia in 1636 [3]
Pettit Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Joshua Pettit, who landed in Virginia in 1701 [3]
  • Jonathan Pettit, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1759 [3]
Pettit Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John Pettit, who settled in Philadelphia in 1801
  • Patrick Pettit, aged 18, who landed in Virginia in 1812 [3]
  • Bernard Pettit, who landed in New York, NY in 1816 [3]
  • Thomas Pettit, who landed in New York in 1836 [3]
  • U S Pettit, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1860 [3]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Pettit migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Pettit Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • John Pettit, who arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1778
  • Mr. Charles Pettit U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1784 [4]
  • Mr. Daniel Pettit U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1784 [4]
  • Mr. John Charles Pettit U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1784 [4]
  • Mr. John Pettit U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1784 [4]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Pettit Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Joseph Pettit, who arrived in Canada in 1836

Australia Pettit migration to Australia +

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

Pettit Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • James Pettit, English convict from Kent, who was transported aboard the "Almorah" on April 1817, settling in New South Wales, Australia [5]
  • Frederick Pettit, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Katherine Stewart Forbes" in 1839 [6]
  • John Pettit, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Anna Maria" in 1849 [7]
  • James Pettit, aged 27, a carpenter, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Punjab"

New Zealand Pettit migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Pettit Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Charles Pettit, aged 26, a bricklayer, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Poictiers" in 1850
  • Mary Anne Pettit, aged 32, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Poictiers" in 1850
  • Mary Maze Pettit, aged 5, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Poictiers" in 1850
  • Carter Pettit, aged 2, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Poictiers" in 1850
  • George Pettit, aged 1, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Poictiers" in 1850

Contemporary Notables of the name Pettit (post 1700) +

  • George William Paul Pettit (1931-2020), American professional MLB baseball pitcher, who played for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1951 and 1953
  • Jane Bradley Pettit (1918-2001), American philanthropist, daughter of Harry Lynde Bradley, co-founder of Allen-Bradley, she donated more than 250 million during her lifetime
  • William Thomas "Tom" Pettit (1931-1995), American journalist and NBC television news correspondent during the 1960s through to 1995
  • Robert Lee Pettit (1906-1941), American Naval Radioman First Class killed in action, posthumously awarded the Navy Cross, eponym of the USS Pettit (DE-253), an Edsall-class destroyer escort
  • Charles Pettit (1736-1806), American lawyer, merchant and politician; he served as a delegate for Pennsylvania to the Confederation Congress from 1785 to 1787
  • Albert W. Pettit (1930-1997), American politician, Member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives (1993-1997)
  • Robert Lee "Bob" Pettit Jr. (b. 1932), retired American professional NBA basketball player who played from 1954 to 1965
  • Donald Roy Pettit (b. 1955), American chemical engineer and a NASA astronaut with over 176 days in space [8]
  • John Tanner Pettit, American consultant in information processing
  • John Pettit, American finance consultant
  • ... (Another 6 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

USS Arizona
  • Mr. Charles Ross Pettit, American Chief Radioman-Permanent from California, USA working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he died in the sinking [9]


  1. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print
  3. ^ 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)
  4. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  5. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Almorah voyage to New South Wales, Australia in 1817 with 180 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/almorah/1817
  6. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) KATHERINE STEWART FORBES 1837 arrived Holdfast Bay, near Adelaide, on October 17, 1837. . Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1837KatherineStewartForbes.htm
  7. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The ANNA MARIA 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849AnnaMaria.htm
  8. ^ NASA Astronauts Homepage. (Retrieved 2010, September 27) Donald Pettit. Retrieved from http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/pettit.html
  9. ^ Pearl Harbour: USS Arizona Casualties List Pearl Harbour December 7, 1941. (Retrieved 2018, July 31st). Retrieved from http://pearl-harbor.com/arizona/casualtylist.html


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