Show ContentsWigan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancient and distinguished surname Wigan indicates "son of Wigand," a personal name derived from the Breton name "Wiucon," meaning "high and noble." [1] This name was introduced into England at the time of the Norman Conquest of 1066. Singular forms of the name were still found in Normandy as late as 1198: Radulphus Wigan; and Richard Wiguen. [2]

Early Origins of the Wigan family

The surname Wigan was first found in the county of Cambridgeshire, where one named Wighen [3] was listed in the Domesday Book in 1086. Another early bearer of the name was Radulfus filius Wigein, who was living in Leicestershire in 1163. [4]

Alternatively, the family could have originated in Wigan a parish, borough, and markettown, which has separate jurisdiction, and the head of a union, chiefly in the hundred of West Derby. [5] [6] [7]

"This place is stated by Camden to have been originally called Wibiggin. The nucleus of the town is supposed by Whitaker to have been a Saxon castle, but its origin should perhaps be assigned to a still earlier period, as three Roman roads unite here. The vicinity is said to have been the scene of some sanguinary battles between the Britons, under their renowned King Arthur, and the Saxons; and the discovery, about the middle of the 18th century, of a large quantity of human bones, and the bones and shoes of horses, over an extensive tract of ground near the town, tends to confirm this opinion. " [5]

Very early records also show the following forename entries that phonetically match early Latin entries, but these forenames have been lost over time: Wyranus Man-seal; Wuganus de Wyleby; and Wygan le Bretun, Essex. [8]

Early History of the Wigan family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Wigan research. Another 105 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1086, 1279, 1379, 1592, 1667, 1633, 1637, 1631, 1632, 1696, 1739, 1731, 1732, 1738 and 1739 are included under the topic Early Wigan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Wigan Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Wiggin, Wiggins, Wigan, Wigans, Wiegand, Wigand, Wigens and many more.

Early Notables of the Wigan family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Captain Thomas Wiggin (Wiggins, Wiggan, or Wiggans) (1592-1667), the 1st Governor of the Upper Plantation of New Hampshire (1633?-1637.) He was born in Bishops Itchington, Warwickshire and arrived in New England on the Winthrop Fleet. By 1631 he had been appointed by the proprietors of the "Upper" or "Dover" Plantation to be their chief agent or governor. He settled in what is now Stratham. He was a close ally of Governor John Winthrop of the neighboring Massachusetts Bay Colony. In 1632 he traveled back to England, and returned the following year with expanded...
Another 145 words (10 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Wigan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Wigan family to Ireland

Some of the Wigan family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 60 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Wigan migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Wigan Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Thomas Wigan, who landed in Georgia in 1738 [9]
Wigan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Mich Wigan, aged 21, who arrived in Mobile, Ala in 1851 [9]

Contemporary Notables of the name Wigan (post 1700) +

  • Horace Wigan (1818-1885), English actor and adapter of plays, younger brother of Alfred Sydney Wigan [10]
  • Alfred Sydney Wigan (1814-1878), English actor-manager who took part in the first Royal Command Performance before Queen Victoria on 28 December 1848 [10]
  • Willard Wigan MBE (b. 1957), English sculptor who makes microscopic art typically placed in the eye of a needle or on the head of a pin
  • Brigadier-General John Tyson Wigan CB, CMG, DSO (1872-1952), British Army officer with the Desert Mounted Corps during World War I
  • Gareth Wigan (1931-2010), British agent, producer and studio executive

  1. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  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. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  4. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  5. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  6. Barber, Henry, British Family Names London: Elliot Stock, 62 Paternoster Row, 1894. Print.
  7. Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  8. Testa de Nevill or "Liber Feodorum" or "Book of Fees," thought to have been written by Ralph de Nevill, for King John (1199–1216)
  9. 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)
  10. Wikisource contributors. "Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900." Wikisource . Wikisource , 4 Jun. 2018. Web. 31 Jan. 2019 on Facebook