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About the study
Forms such as Micklewright, Micklefield etc are names in their own right. I am not following them except where someone has been confused and recorded one of them as one of us, or vice versa.
Other forms seem temporary and a result of poor writing, poor hearing or poor transcription, or in the case of MICKLEFIT, local dialect. There are too many to list - I have recorded over 250 of them.
The place name is from Old Norse 'mikel' meaning large, 'tveit' meaning clearing or settlement. Indeed in the Hordaland District of Norway, about 20 km West of Voss, lies a mountain called Mykkeltveitveten - the beacon of the large clearing.
Historical occurrences of the name
The MICKLETHWAITEs have made much less of an impression on the historical record, with one (Benjamin) hanged at York in 1817 and another (John Thomas) buried in Westminster Abbey (in 1806 in recognition of his work as a church architect). The MICKLEWHITEs have already been mentioned - Sir Michael Caine, born Maurice Joseph MICKLEWHITE, is descended from a MICKLETHWAITE.
The MICKELWAITs emigrated to the USA in 1831. Several of their number took part in the '49 Gold Rush, some making their fortunes and becoming pillars of the establishment when they returned. Some of their descendants have served with distinction in the US Forces, including General Claude Micklewait.
Distribution of the name
The PublicProfiler site shows that in 1998, the same overall pattern is maintained although they have spread through other parts of England and even into Wales and Ireland.
MICKLETHWAIT(E)s have also spread throughout the world, although mainly to the old Colonies. At least 5 families emigrated to the USA. Others went to Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and a couple went to Southern Africa. One family has been recorded in the Bahamas, and whilst the settlers there quickly died out, their name lives on as former slaves took their name, or variations of it.
For details of where the branches came from, please see my website.