Pettitt History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancient Normans that arrived in England following the Conquest of 1066 are the initial ancestors from which the many generations of the Pettitt family have grown. The name Pettitt was given to a member of the family 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 Pettitt family

The surname Pettitt 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 Pettitt family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Pettitt 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 Pettitt History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Pettitt Spelling Variations

The English language only became standardized in the last few centuries. For that reason, spelling variations are common among many Anglo-Norman names. The shape of the English language was frequently changed with the introduction of elements of Norman French, Latin, and other European languages; even the spelling of literate people's names were subsequently modified. Pettitt has been recorded under many different variations, including Pettit, Petit, Petitt, Petet and others.

Early Notables of the Pettitt 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 Pettitt Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Pettitt Ranking

In the United States, the name Pettitt is the 11,653rd most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [3]

Ireland Migration of the Pettitt family to Ireland

Some of the Pettitt 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 Pettitt migration to the United States +

To escape the uncertainty of the political and religious uncertainty found in England, many English families boarded ships at great expense to sail for the colonies held by Britain. The passages were expensive, though, and the boats were unsafe, overcrowded, and ridden with disease. Those who were hardy and lucky enough to make the passage intact were rewarded with land, opportunity, and social environment less prone to religious and political persecution. Many of these families went on to be important contributors to the young nations of Canada and the United States where they settled. Pettitts were some of the first of the immigrants to arrive in North America:

Pettitt Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Thomas Pettitt, who arrived in New England in 1639 [4]
  • John Pettitt, who landed in South Carolina in 1676 [4]

Australia Pettitt migration to Australia +

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

Pettitt Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Henry Pettitt, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Prince Regent" in 1839 [5]
  • Heather Pettitt, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Prince Regent" in 1839 [5]
  • Edwin W Pettitt, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Morley" in 1840 [6]
  • Mr. James Pettitt, English convict who was convicted in Lewes, Sussex, England for 10 years, transported aboard the "Fairlie" on 9th Mary 1852, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Island) [7]

New Zealand Pettitt 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:

Pettitt Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Miss Ann Pettitt, (b. 1848), aged 18, British domestic servant travelling from London aboard the ship "John Temperley" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 21st June 1866 [8]
  • William Pettitt, aged 42, a plumber, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Queen of The Age" in 1874
  • Frances Pettitt, aged 40, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Queen of The Age" in 1874
  • Alice Pettitt, aged 12, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Queen of The Age" in 1874

Contemporary Notables of the name Pettitt (post 1700) +

  • Tom Pettitt (b. 1859), English-born, American tennis world champion from 1885 to 1890, inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1982
  • Peggy Pettitt (b. 1950), American actress, dancer, teacher, playwright and storyteller
  • Louise Pettitt (1918-2006), born Florence Louise Staples, one of the first American female opera conductors
  • Henry Alfred Pettitt (1848-1893), British actor and dramatist from Smethwick, near Birmingham, son of Edwin Pettitt, a civil engineer, and author
  • Ellen Pettitt (b. 1986), Australian high jumper at the 2003 World Youth Championships and at the 2006 Commonwealth Games
  • John Alexander Pettitt (1910-1977), Australian politician, Member of the Australian Parliament for Hume (1963-1972)
  • Dave Pettitt (b. 1972), Canadian voice actor in commercials and on television

  1. ^ Lower, 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. ^
  4. ^ 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)
  5. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) PRINCE REGENT 1839. Retrieved from
  6. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) MORLEY 1840. Retrieved from
  7. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 26th September 2022).
  8. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from on Facebook