Rabbitt History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Rabbitt is one of the many names that the Normans brought with them when they conquered England in 1066. The name Rabbitt came from the given name Robert, which is adapted from the Norman personal name Radbode. This latter name is composed of the Germanic elements rad, meaning counsel or advice, and bodo, meaning message or tidings.

Early Origins of the Rabbitt family

The surname Rabbitt was first found in Suffolk where "this ancient family who have resided at Bramfield for several centuries, claim a Norman descent." [1] Following the Norman descent deeper, we found "Hugh Rabace in Normandy 1180-95 and Gerard Rabes there in 1198." [2] However, the family was clearly in England about the same time: "Robert Rabaz gave Kenilworth or Chillingworth Church, Northamptonshire to De la Pré Abbey, which gift was confirmed by Henry II. [his reign: 5 March 1133-6 July 1189]" [2] St. Andrew's Church, Bramfield is a 13th century church which has ledger slabs of members of the Rabett and Nelson families.

Early History of the Rabbitt family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Rabbitt research. Another 87 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1298, 1313, 1316 and 1467 are included under the topic Early Rabbitt History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Rabbitt Spelling Variations

It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, Anglo-Norman surnames like Rabbitt are characterized by many spelling variations. Scribes and monks in the Middle Ages spelled names they sounded, so it is common to find several variations that refer to a single person. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages such as Norman French and Latin, even literate people regularly changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Rabbitt include Rabbit, Rabett, Rabit, Rabbitt and others.

Early Notables of the Rabbitt family (pre 1700)

Another 45 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Rabbitt Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Rabbitt migration to the United States +

Faced with the chaos present in England at that time, many English families looked towards the open frontiers of the New World with its opportunities to escape oppression and starvation. People migrated to North America, as well as Australia and Ireland in droves, paying exorbitant rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, but those who did see the shores of North America were welcomed with great opportunity. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America carried the name Rabbitt, or a variant listed above:

Rabbitt Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Andrew Rabbitt, aged 24, who landed in America, in 1897
  • Ellen Rabbitt, aged 10, who immigrated to the United States from Moote, in 1899
Rabbitt Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Bridget Rabbitt, aged 22, who immigrated to the United States from Galway, in 1902
  • Catherine Rabbitt, aged 9, who settled in America from Liverpool, in 1902
  • Bridget Rabbitt, aged 28, who landed in America from Liverpool, in 1904
  • Mary Rabbitt, aged 32, who settled in America, in 1905
  • Margeret Rabbitt, aged 18, who landed in America from Galway, Ireland, in 1906
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Rabbitt migration to Australia +

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

Rabbitt Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Bridget Rabbitt, aged 20, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Taymouth Castle" [3]
  • James Rabbitt, aged 23, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Nugget" [4]

New Zealand Rabbitt 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:

Rabbitt Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Patrick J. Rabbitt, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Mermaid" in 1859
  • Mr. Patrick J. Rabbitt, British settler travelling from Liverpool aboard the ship 'Mermaid' arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 19th October 1859 [5]

Contemporary Notables of the name Rabbitt (post 1700) +

  • Joseph Patrick "Joe" Rabbitt (1900-1969), American Major League Baseball left fielder for the 1922 Cleveland Indians
  • Richard J. Rabbitt (1935-2011), American Democratic politician, Speaker of the Missouri House of Representatives (1973 to 1976)
  • Ann Rabbitt, American politician, Republican member of the New York State Assembly
  • Edward Thomas "Eddie" Rabbitt (1941-1998), American singer-songwriter and musician from Brooklyn, New York, best known for his songs "Kentucky Rain", "Pure Love" and "Suspicions"
  • Richard J. Rabbitt (b. 1935), American Democrat politician, Member of Missouri State House of Representatives from St. Louis City 8th District, 1961-67 [6]
  • Peter J. J. Rabbitt, American Democrat politician, Candidate in primary for Missouri State Senate 15th District, 1964 [6]
  • Patricia Rabbitt, American politician, Candidate for Presidential Elector for Michigan, 1976 [6]
  • James Thomas "Jim" Rabbitt (b. 1941), Canadian businessman and former politician in British Columbia


  1. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ 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)
  3. ^ South Australian Register Thursday 4th May 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Taymouth Castle 1854. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/taymouthcastle1854.shtml.
  4. ^ South Australian Register Tuesday 4th July 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Nugget 1854. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/nugget1854.shtml.
  5. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  6. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 9) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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