Posted by on 15 October 2012 in Guest Bloggers, What's in a name?

Authored by Andy Micklethwaite.  Andy started his interest in family history in 2003, just as the internet was transforming research. His One Name Study resulted from a search for information on the parents of his 3rd great grandfather – he is still looking for them! He is a member of the Huddersfield and District Family History Society and the Guild of One Name Studies and has a regular blog

The Name of Micklethwaite – origins, variants and famous bearers

Micklethwaite is a locative (i.e. derived from a place name) English surname with Norwegian origins. In Old Norse, Micel means large and tveit means clearing or settlement. The place name Mykkeltveit can still be found in Evanger in the Hordaland district of Norway (west of  the tourist resort of Voss), and families with this name (or one of its variants) are found in Norway and the USA.

Photograph of Banks Hall by John P Micklethwait

In England, there are 3 places still with the name Micklethwaite, in Cumbria near Carlisle, and in Yorkshire, one near Bradford and one in Wetherby. Other settlements called Micklethwaite have passed into history – one such place is now known as Banks Hall, near Cawthorne in South Yorkshire, and research has shown that it is from here that most if not all Micklethwaites originate.

The majority of English bearers of the name use the spelling Micklethwaite, examples being John T Micklethwaite, a church architect buried in Westminster Abbey in 1906, Frank W. Micklethwaite (1849-1925) was a Canadian photographer, and Benjamin Micklethwaite hanged at York in 1817 for burglary. However, one English branch use the variant Micklethwait, and they are generally more famous: Elias Micklethwait (1556-1632) was Lord Mayor of York;   Sir John Micklethwait (1612-82) was physician to King Charles II; Joseph Viscount Micklethwait (1680-1733) of Longford in Ireland was secretary to the Chancellor of the Exchequer Lord Shaftesbury; John Micklethwait is currently editor-in chief of The Economist. Both of these spellings of the name are also found in Australia.

In 1831 Willoughy Micklethwaite left the Bay Horse Inn in Great Heck in Yorkshire and emigrated to the USA – his surname was recorded there as Mickelwait and there are many descendants, the most famous was Major General Claude B Mickelwait (1894-1981) of the US Army. In the 1840s John Mickelthwate emigrated to Germany – descendants live there and in North America. During the late 19th century in London Joseph Micklethwaite’s name became recorded as Micklewhite – his descendant Maurice J Micklewhite is better known as Sir Michael Caine.

FW Micklethwaite

Sir Michael Caine

John Micklethwait Photo courtesey The Economist

Websites: For Micklethwaite and Micklewhite  For Micklethwait and Mickelwait

The author: Andy Micklethwaite started his interest in family history in 2003, just as the internet was transforming research. His One Name Study resulted from a search for information on the parents of his 3rd great grandfather – he is still looking for them! He is a member of the Huddersfield and District Family History Society and the Guild of One Name Studies and has an irregular blog

About Emma

Emma Pulman is a Social Media and digital Marketing Executive for Ancestry.co.uk. Based in Ancestry's London office in Hammersmith, Emma regularly tweets and posts on Ancestry's Facebook page.

1 Comment

Mike Mitchelmore 

Thanks for this article. I surmise that the derivation of my surname name, Mitchelmore, is similar: Micel (=large) and more (= moor). There are several records of Mitchelmore places all over England, and there is also a Muckamore parish in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. The surname seems to have originated in the South Hams, in South Devon (a long way from the Danish invasion, so probably Saxon in origin). It is possible that the name refers to Dartmoor, but the origin seems to be in Malborough parish (south of Kingsbridge, some way away) and was probably some lost location there.

Mike

15 October 2012 at 10:52 pm