Introduction

This web site tells the story of one Viking family that came to England in the ninth century – their descendants are still here to-day to record the experiences of the family over the centuries.

Much family History research has been undertaken to uncover the information that is given on the site. It details what we know, or think we know, about our ancestors.

Source information

Old family records; official publications; wills; deeds; census records; parish registers; birth, marriage and death certificates; 1379 Poll Tax records; 1672 Hearth Tax records; Coats of Arms records and numerous publications have all been studied. Existing members of the family; several Local Historians; Local Authority Record Office staff and staff from other eminent libraries have all helped by providing relevant information. DNA testing has been used to establish a Viking root & to establish a connection between the oldest UK branch & the USA branch. The research is on-going. Whilst there are quite a lot of publications that give information about this family, they quite often conflict with the original source documents & where we have found this to be the case, we have used the source documents.

Very old records can never be relied upon to be absolutely accurate so it is possible that this web site will contain some information which will at a later date be found to be inaccurate. More information will no doubt arise in the future as the research continues.

Spelling

In the past the family name was spelt in many different ways including amongst others Muclewaite, Micklethwait, Micklethwayt, Micklethwaite, Muclethwait, Muclethwaite, Muclethwayte, Meiklethwaite, and these changes in spelling frequently occurred, even between father and son. Scribes recorded and spelled the name as it sounded. Typically a person would be born with one spelling, married with another, and buried with a headstone which showed yet another. All three spellings related to the same person.

By the time we reach the 1901 British census, the name is generally being spelt in the UK in one of two ways. Either Micklethwait or Micklethwaite. It lists 75 Micklethwaits ending without an E & 547 with an E!

In the USA, one part of the family spell their name Micklethwait whereas the other part spell it Mickelwait. The latter spelling came about when one Willoughby Micklethwaite first purchased land in Illinois. The deed bore the name spelt Mickelwait and they left it that way & from that time forth everyone born to this line has had the last name spelt Mickelwait - apparently this happened a lot to people when they immigrated to the US, their names were spelled as they were heard or as they sounded unless the person involved corrected the error it was left that way.

My ancestors removed the E from the end of the name at some time in the past – it seems to have largely disappeared around 1700. There are various stories about why they did this, but the most likely is that they simply wished to differentiate themselves from the many other families with the same surname.

Whilst researching my family history, I therefore concentrate on those without an E but because of spelling mistakes even to-day, I cannot afford to ignore those with an E just in case they are one of us – but wrongly spelt.

John P Micklethwait (john@micklethwait.org)