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Our 2,745 members have registered
2,397 study surnames with us
and a further 6,089 variant names.

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About the study

My name is Andy Micklethwaite and I now live in Derbyshire, England but I was born in Huddersfield, Yorkshire. I've been researching my family history since 2003. My 3rd great grandfather John MICKLETHWAITE died of cholera just before the 1851 census which might have told me where he was born. In looking for him I started to collect data on all the MICKLETHWAIT(E)s in Huddersfield where he lived. From there, the study has gradually expanded and taken on a life of its own, as these things do, and now extends across England and beyond.
For more details on everything discussed here, please visit my web site!

Variant names

The majority of us bear the MICKLETHWAITE form of the name. Several inter-related trees use the form MICKLETHWAIT - these have been admirably recorded by one of their number, who has now retired from active service and I appear to have been passed the baton. Another branch emigrated to Germany and took the form MICKELTHWATE with them. One family living in London found that the local accent couldn't cope with the name, and they became MICKLEWHITE, including in their ranks a certain famous actor. Another family has the form MICHAELWAITE which originated in Lincolnshire. Yet another branch emigrated to the USA and became known as MICKELWAIT.

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.

Name origin

The surname is locative, derived from the place name Micklethwaite. 3 such places still exist in England, near Carlisle in Cumbria; near Bingley in West Yorkshire; in Wetherby, Yorkshire (see my website for more details on these places) However the paper trail leads back to none of these, but a place near Cawthorne in South Yorkshire now called Banks Hall which once was known as Micklethwaite.

The place name is from Old Norse 'mikel'€ meaning large, '€œtveit'€ 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 earliest MICKLETHWAITs are mentioned in the Yorkshire lay Subsidies in the reign of Edward I (1272-1307). They are also enumerated in the 1379 Poll Tax. The first will we have is from 1544. After that the MICKLETHWAITs achieved fame and fortune in York (Lord Mayor 1615), London (Freeman of the City 1708), Arundel (MP 1715 -€“ later Lord Commisioner of the Treasury and Viscount MICKLETHWAIT of Longford in Ireland), Leeds (Mayor 1735), Norfolk (High Sheriff about 1800), and Wakefield (Mayor 1850). One was personal Physician to King Charles II. In more recent times members of this branch have served with distinction in all the Armed Forces.

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.

Name frequency

Stephen Archer'€™s excellent Surname Atlas programme (available from the Guild Shop) uses data from the 1881 UK census and gives 405 MICKLETHWAITEs, 27 MICKLETHWAITs and sundry other variations.

The ONS site for 2002 lists 887 MICKLETHWAITEs and 65 MICKLETHWAITs.

Distribution of the name

The 1881 census shows MICKLETHWAITEs predominantly in the West Riding of Yorkshire, with some emigrant in neighbouring Cheshire, Derbyshire and even Lancashire. There is a scattering in other counties of England. The majority of MICKLETHWAITs are also in the West Riding although Sussex, Hampshire and other parts of Yorkshire and neighbouring counties are also settled, but by 1881 their Norfolk branch had moved on. MICKLEWHITEs (just 2) are in London.

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.



As mentioned above, the name gets badly mistreated. As such I cannot guarantee I have all the records, but I have tried to get all the English Civil Registration Birth, Marriage and Deaths from 1837 to the latter part of the C20th, and the English census records from 1841 to 1911. I have collected data from the Parish Records, both from online sources such as the IGI, and from locally transcribed material – I am really grateful to my contacts who have done most of the hard work of transcription. I also have copies of many of the wills made mainly by MICKLETHWAITs. I have most of the available US census data but poor enumeration and transcription make this collection incomplete. Other records are being added as they become available.


5 of us have had our DNA tested. Both MICKLETHWAITs are closely matching in haplogroup I1a, indicating a probable link between 2 trees (one tree in the UK, the other in the UK and the US) where the paper trail has not yet given proof. The MICKLETHWAITEs are I2b1 (1) and R1b (2) - the matches on R1b are far from close. Overall this does suggest strong Scandinavian connections but at present (and with low confidence given the low sample numbers) it seems unlikely that all MICKLETHWAIT(E)s are related.