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About the study

The Ibbotson One-Name Study is just being launched now but I have been working on it for several years. I started doing research on my own ancestors that originated in Threshfield, near Skipton, Yorkshire, England. I found that since most males were given the first name of 'John' and then referred to by their second name, it was necessary for me to track all the the 'John(s)'. From there I expanded to all the Ibbotsons in northern England. By 2011 I had collected over 6,000 people and it was time to register the one-name study.

Variant names

There are many variants of the name Ibbotson but I have tried to stick to the rule that there must be a B, a T, and some variant of son/sonne/sen in the name. Thus 'Ibbottson', 'Ibitson', 'Ibbetsen' etc. would be included but 'Ibison', 'Ibson', or 'Iveson' would be excluded unless it could be proven that the spelling was inconsistant and sometimes included a 'b' or a 't'.

Name origin

There are a few theories as to where the surname originated. The most common being that it is a derivitave of 'son of an Abbott'. Another popular idea is that it refers to 'son of Isabell(e)'. Isabelle was a common name among the monarchy of both Scotland and England around 1100 - 1400 when the surname first appears. This theory is plausable since the English ancestors have shown a tendency towards naming their children after the current monarch i.e. William, John, Henry, Richard, Margaret, Mary, Anne, Elizabeth.

Historical occurrences of the name

The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henry Ibbotson, which was dated 1379, in the 'Poll Tax Rolls of Yorkshire'. Also, an petition made in 1397 by Thomas Merkes, Bishop of Carlilse includes John Ibbotson. More modern Ibbotsons include Eva Ibbotson a writer from Austria, Jimmy Ibbotson a member of the American folk rock band called Nitty Gritty Dirt Bank, Ibbotson Associates an internation asset management company, George Derek Ibbotson, an English runner who held the world record in 1957 for the mile and of course, me, Ann Ibbotson Buchanan a retired insurance agent. I have records of Henrie Ibotson having children in Skirethorne, Yorkshire beginning 1540. I also have a land debenture that shows Anthony Ibbotson living in Threshfield in 1571. Our family legend tells the story that three brothers that were border raiders or moss troopers were given four acres of land in Threshfield in 1606 by King James I of England (also known as King James VI of Scotland) because he was so grateful that they stole horses for him. As dwelling by the name of 'Ling House' was built on this land and is still owned by the family today. Of course, although there is usually some truth in family legends, I can only go by what I have researched.

Name frequency

According to the ONS database there were 3,268 Ibbotsons in England, Wales and the Isle of Man in September 2002. It has a popularity ranking of 2,392. The index of 1881 Census's done by the Church of Latter Day Saints states that there are 3,570 Ibbotsons recorded throughout the world. This would indicate that the surname is growing as it migrates from England to such places as Canada, USA, Australia, Africa, Spain etc. In England the County with the highest population of Ibbotsons is Yorkshire with 1,481 or a frequency of 0.0512%. Lancashire is second with 319 people or a .0092 frequency. The English town with the highest total occurences is Bradfield, Yorkshire. The main occupations include cotton weaver, coal miner, joiner, stone mason, farm labourer and shoemaker.

Distribution of the name

According to Ibbotson is the 83503th most common surname in the USA and the 54451th most common surname in Spain. There is no question that the surname is most popular in Northern England.


I started compiling the data from the parish records of Yorkshire and Lancashire since these are the areas heaviest populated by the surname. As previously stated, I am in the beginning stages so have not yet established on-line data. I do have contacts that are researching Ibbotsons in America, Canada, and Australia. You would need to email, write, or telephone me if you have a question that I might answer.


I am not aware of a DNA Project for Ibbotson. Although, I am open to hearing from anyone that is doing this type of research.