Show ContentsPickford History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Pickford belongs to the early history of Britain, it's origins lie with the Anglo-Saxons. It is a product of their having lived in the parish of Pitchford found in Shropshire.

Early Origins of the Pickford family

The surname Pickford was first found in Shropshire at Pitchford, a small village and parish, in the union of Atcham, hundred of Condover where the village derives its name from the strong pitchy smell that emanates from the oily substance that frequently covers the surface of the water. Hence the place means "ford near a place where pitch if found," from the Old English words "pic" + "ford." [1]

Alternatively the family could have originated in Pickforde in Ticehurst (Sussex). [2]

The Domesday Book of 1086 lists the place as Piceforde [3] and also lists Pitchford Hall as "Edric, and Leofric and Wulfric held it as thress manors; they were free." [4]

Today Pitchford Hall is a large Grade I listed Tudor country house that was mostly rebuilt c. 1560. Portions of the Roman Watling Street runs through the grounds. Early records show that Geoffrey de Pykeford, a crusader, was Lord of the Manor from 1272. He also built the local church of St Michael, which contains an oak effigy of him.

Early rolls included: Alcock de Pykeford was listed in the Assize Rolls of 1288; and Thomas Pikeford in the Subsidy Rolls for Sussex in 1332. [2]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 had only one listing for the family: John de Picford, or Picheford found in Salop (Shropshire.) [5] The Writs of Parliament included two listings: John de Pycheford, 1277 and Galfridus de Picheford, 1296.

Early History of the Pickford family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Pickford research. Another 99 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1591, 1599, 1649 and 1695 are included under the topic Early Pickford History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Pickford Spelling Variations

Until the dictionary, an invention of only the last few hundred years, the English language lacked any comprehensive system of spelling rules. Consequently, spelling variations in names are frequently found in early Anglo-Saxon and later Anglo-Norman documents. One person's name was often spelled several different ways over a lifetime. The recorded variations of Pickford include Pickford, Pitchford, Picford, Pichford, Pitford and others.

Early Notables of the Pickford family (pre 1700)

Another 50 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Pickford Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Pickford migration to the United States +

Thousands of English families boarded ships sailing to the New World in the hope of escaping the unrest found in England at this time. Although the search for opportunity and freedom from persecution abroad took the lives of many because of the cramped conditions and unsanitary nature of the vessels, the opportunity perceived in the growing colonies of North America beckoned. Many of the settlers who survived the journey went on to make important contributions to the transplanted cultures of their adopted countries. The Pickford were among these contributors, for they have been located in early North American records:

Pickford Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Mary Pickford, who arrived in Virginia in 1663 with her husband
Pickford Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Joseph Pickford, a bonded passenger, who settled in America in 1725
  • Mark Pickford, who settled in Maryland in 1737
Pickford Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Isaac Pickford, aged 28, who landed in New York in 1812 [6]
  • Isaac and John Pickford, who both arrived in New York in 1820
  • John Pickford, who arrived in Mississippi in 1844 [6]

Australia Pickford migration to Australia +

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

Pickford Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John Pickford, English convict who was convicted in Stafford, Staffordshire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Duncan" on 10th December 1840, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [7]
  • Mr. Edmund Pickford, English convict who was convicted in St Albans, Hertfordshire, England for 7 years for larceny, transported aboard the "Equestrian" on 25th January 1844, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Island), he died in 1844 [8]
  • Alfred Pickford, aged 33, a carpenter, who arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Marshall Bennett" [9]

New Zealand Pickford 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:

Pickford Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Rosa E. Pickford, aged 21, a servant, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Rimutaka" in 1885

West Indies Pickford migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [10]
Pickford Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Susan Pickford, who settled in Barbados in 1659

Contemporary Notables of the name Pickford (post 1700) +

  • Mary Pickford (1892-1979), born Glayds Louise Smith, Canadian two-time Academy Award-winning motion picture star, co-founder of the film studio United Artists and one of the original 36 founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
  • Grace Evelyn Pickford (b. 1902), English-born, American biologist and endocrinologist
  • Jack Pickford (1896-1933), Canadian-born American actor, brother of filmstar Mary Pickford
  • Thomas H. Pickford, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from District of Columbia, 1912, 1916 [11]
  • Cornelius R. B. Pickford, American politician, U.S. Consular Agent in Cebu, 1884 [11]
  • Sir Alfred Donald "Pickle" Pickford OBE (1872-1947), English businessman who made his wealth in British India, close friend of Robert Baden-Powell, official of The Boy Scouts Association
  • Henry Pickford (b. 1820), English first-class cricketer for Lancashire in 1849
  • Catherine Ruth Pickford (b. 1976), née Packer, an English Anglican priest, Archdeacon of Northolt in the Diocese of London, Church of England
  • Martin Pickford (b. 1943), English paleontologist from Wiltshire, England, Chair in Paleoanthropology and Prehistory at the Collège de France
  • James Pickford (b. 1979), British race car driver
  • ... (Another 4 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

  1. Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  4. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  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. 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)
  7. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 11th August 2021). Retrieved from
  8. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 4th May 2022).
  9. South Australian Register Friday 29 April 1853. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Marshall Bennett 1853. Retrieved
  11. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 20) . Retrieved from on Facebook