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Our 2,766 members have registered
2,405 study surnames with us
and a further 6,120 variant names.

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About the study

The HESKINS One-Name Study was started in the mid 1990s when three family members decided to contact all of the HESKINSes in the UK telephone books. Several interested people responded and that was the start of the study. All entries in the BMD lists have been collected, as has all available information from the IGI and censuses. The lack of some baptisms, of people who married, on the IGI seemed strange and it was discovered that, in the late eigheenth century and early nineteenth century many family members were Baptists. Visits to Gloucestershire and Wiltshire Archives and to The National Archives have produced much information of a family history nature as well as locating the name in unusual records. Searching world wide has produced information about HESKINS individuals in the USA and some other countries, but most are in the UK.

Variant names

The name ESKINS appears in north Gloucestershire in the late eighteenth century and is most probably a variant. A lease, made out in the name of HESKINS, contains the names of a couple who are called ESKINS elsewhere.

The first vowel can be altered to give the names: HASKINS, HISKINS, HOSKINS and HUSKINS. Occasionally these appear as mis-spellings of HESKINS.

HOSKINS is found in Cornwall and south Wales, HASKINS in Dorset and Somerset.

Older documents sometimes have HESKYNS, definitely a variant.

HESKIN is separate name, based on a place near Eccleston in Lancashire.

Name origin

One source gives the explanation that the name derives from Old Welsh for 'sedgy bog'.

Another suggests that it is a diminutive of the forename 'Os', but this seems to fit HOSKINS rather better.

I wonder if there is a connection with Arnulf de HESLIN, a Norman who was granted land in Gloucestershire, as well as elsewhere, after the conquest.

Historical occurrences of the name

In early modern times members of the HESKINS family of Wotton-under-Edge were of the middling sort, a grandfather and a grandson being mayors of the town and two sons of a maltster entering Oxford and becoming ordained. The HESKINS family living in Malmesbury, Wiltshire at the same time was of a similar social standing. The family has included bakers, butchers and brushmakers amongst their occupations as well as woollen mill owners and operatives. There are HESKINSes in the USA who were given [or chose] that name when they entered the country from Hungary.

Name frequency

There are less than 500 people with the surname HESKINS worldwide.

Distribution of the name

Originally the name was found in Gloucestershire and Wiltshire, with some occurences in London. It is still found mainly in the southern counties of England but has spread northwards to some extent. There are occurences in The USA, Canada, Australia, Germany and Italy but, apart from the some in the USA, most can be traced back to the original Gloucestershire family.


I hold a large amount of data, collected from a variety of sources.


It would be interesting to run a DNA project but none is in hand at the present time.