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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016

Origins Available: English, German

Where did the German Rickman family come from? When did the Rickman family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Rickman family history?

The Rickman surname first began to be used in the German state of Bavaria, some time after the 12th century, when hereditary surnames were adopted according to fairly general rules, and names that were derived from locations became particularly common. The family name Rickman is a local surname. Originally denoting the proprietorship of an estate or influence within a village, the German preposition von, which means from or of, used with local names, was taken as a mark of aristocracy. The surname Rickman was given to someone who lived in Bavaria, where the Rickman family achieved distinction for its contribution to the region's medieval society. This surname was a nickname surname, and derived from the German words, reich, which means rich, and mann, which means man. Thus, the bearer of this name was known for his material wealth, or perhaps because he behaved in a princely or regal manner.

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One can encounter great variation in the spelling of surnames: in early times, spelling in general, and thus the spelling of names was not yet standardized; and later, spellings would change with branching and movement of families. Variations of the name Rickman include Reichmann, Reichman, Reichmen, Richmann, Richman, Richmen, Reichmanner, Reichmaenner, Richmanner, Richmaenner, Rickman, Rickmen, Reychman, Reychmann and many more.

First found in Bavaria, where the name was anciently associated with the tribal conflicts of the area. They declared allegiances to many nobles and princes of early history, lending their influence in struggles for power and status within the region. They branched into many houses, and their contributions were sought by many leaders in their search for power. Chronicles first mention Hatnel Richman in 1380, and one Richmannus of Bremen in 1382.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Rickman research. Another 351 words (25 lines of text) covering the years 1777, 1744, 1715, 1849, 1903, 1882, 1642, 1737, 1702 and 1703 are included under the topic Early Rickman History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 81 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Rickman Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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The great European flow of migration to North America, which began in the middle of the 17th century and continued into the 20th century, was particularly attractive to those from Bavaria who wished to escape either poverty or religious persecution. For many Bavarian tenant farmers, the chance to own their own land was a major incentive. So the widespread colonization of the United States began in 1650, when many immigrants from Germany settled in pockets in Pennsylvania, Texas, New York, Illinois, and California. In Canada, German settlement centered in Ontario and the prairie provinces. Among those of this surname listed in various historical records were:

Rickman Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Elizabeth Rickman, aged 16, arrived in Mobile, Ala in 1832
  • George Rickman, aged 2, landed in Mobile, Ala in 1832
  • John Rickman, aged 10, arrived in Mobile, Ala in 1832
  • Margaret Rickman, aged 7, landed in Mobile, Ala in 1832
  • Mary Rickman, aged 4, arrived in Mobile, Ala in 1832


Rickman Settlers in United States in the 20th Century


  • Mesche Rickman, aged 24, who settled in America, in 1904
  • Caroline Rickman, aged 42, who landed in America from Dorking, England, in 1910
  • Arthur P.W. Rickman, aged 39, who landed in America from England, in 1912
  • Pat Rickman, aged 41, who landed in America, in 1913
  • Gladys Rickman, aged 21, who settled in America from Kingston, Jamaica, in 1920


Rickman Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century


  • Edmond Baird Rickman, aged 22, who arrived at Toronto, Canada, in 1923

Rickman Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • George Rickman, aged 20, a labourer, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Oliver Lang" in 1856

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  • William Rickman (1731-1783), political leader of the American Revolution
  • Jolie Christine Rickman (1970-2005), American feminist, humanitarian, singer-songwriter and social activist
  • Alan Sidney Patrick Rickman (1946-2016), British Tony Award nominated, Emmy Award, BAFTA Award and Golden Globe Award winning stage and screen actor, probably best remembered for his role as the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and as Severus Snape in the Harry Potter film series
  • Mr. George Albert Rickman, aged 36, English Fireman/Stoker from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and survived the sinking escaping on life boat 10
  • John Rickman (1880-1951), English doctor of medicine, psychiatrist, and psychoanalyst
  • John Rickman (1771-1840), English statistician and government official
  • Thomas 'Clio' Rickman (1760-1834), English publisher and bookseller
  • Thomas Rickman (1776-1841), English architect


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  1. Fogleman, Aaron Spencer. Journeys German Immigration, Settlement and Political Culture in Colonial America 1717-1775. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1986. Print. (ISBN 978-0812215489).
  2. Bahlow, Hans (Edda Gentry trns). Dictionary of German Names . Madison, Wisconsin: Max Kade Institute, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-924119-35-7).
  3. Oswald, G. Lexicon der Heraldik. Leipzig: 1984. Print.
  4. Kneschke, Dr. Ernest Heinrich. Neues allgemeines Deutsches Adels-Lexicon 9 Volumes New General German Aristocracy Lexicon. Leipzig: Friedrich Voigt, 1859. Print.
  5. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  6. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  7. Brechenmacher, Josef Karlmann. Deutches Namenbuch. Stuttgart: Verlag von Adolf Bonz & Comp, 1928. Print.
  8. Neubecker, Ottfried. Wappen-Bilder-Lexikon der bürgerlichen Geschlechter Deutschlands, Oesterreichs und der Schweiz. Battenberg, München: 1985. Print.
  9. Rupp, Daniel L. A Collection of Upwards of Thirty Thousand Names of German, Swiss, Dutch, French and Other Immigrants to Pennsylvania from 1727 to 1776. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 2000. Print. (ISBN 978-0806303024).
  10. Haverkamp, Alfred. Medieval Germany 1056-1273 2nd edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print.
  11. ...


This page was last modified on 14 January 2016 at 10:42.

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