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Our 2,765 members have registered
2,405 study surnames with us
and a further 6,120 variant names.

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About the study

The Ricketts one-name study started with collecting all occurrences of the surname and variants for a location. The purpose of this exercise was an attempt to make progress on my family tree. This research then expanded into a global surname study, for all Ricketts and variant family trees.

I have been researching the Ricketts surname and variants worldwide for over 40 years. This process has involved collecting data, building family trees, as well as assisting others who are researching their Ricketts or variant ancestors.

Variant names

The one-name study includes the surname Ricketts and close variants: Ricket, Rickets, Rickett, Rickit, Rickitt, Reckitt, Wreckitt and Wreggitt.

The associated DNA project includes additional surnames, beyond Ricketts and close variants. These additional surnames are considered possible variants, such as Rackett and Rockett, as well as Raggett. They are included to explore possible surname evolution.

Historically, in any area where Rackett, Rockett, or Raggett is found, Ricketts is also found. This has generated questions regarding whether there was surname evolution to these different forms. The DNA Project, in time, should answer these questions.

Name origin

Ricketts is a multiple origin surname. This means that the surname came about at multiple different locations. Since there are many different origins, it is most likely that the origins began with different surname forms and even though each evolved to Ricketts or a close form over time, each origin probably followed a different surname evolution path.

The surname form Ricketts is concentrated in the south and west of England. Historically, the primary counties where the surname is found are Gloucestershire, Somerset, and Wiltshire. There are also significant populations in the adjoining counties of Dorset, Warwickshire, and Worcestershire.

The concentrations of the other surname forms vary. For example, Rackett is found in the 1800s in Hampshire, especially on the Isle of Wight. We also find a sizable Ricketts population in Hampshire.

The rare surname forms, such as Rickitt, are suspected to be late forming variants. This means that the surname formed later, most likely from Ricketts or a close variant, and has had less number of generations since the surname evolved, and therefore, has a lower male population today, resulting in it being a rare surname.

Some surname books suggest the Ricketts surname derives from the French 'Requette' or 'Ricard', though no evidence of this has yet been found.

Research in early records is still ongoing, so no conclusions can yet be drawn. This research suggests that the surname forms found today arose from different prior forms. Combined with the DNA Project and surname distribution mapping, we expect to make further discoveries.

Over 160 different surname forms have been found in early recordings, including: Raicote, Reekyts, Rykket,
Riccuts, Riccatts, Richatts, Rickeet, Rykeytt, Rycote.

Surnames originated circa 1250-1450, first in the south and the populated areas, then moving north and to the rural areas. In 1250, few people except the upper class had surnames, and by 1450, almost everyone had a surname.

The spelling Ricketts has not been found prior to the 1500s. This indicates that the surname originated in a different form. In the 1500s, we have limited occurrences of the spelling of Ricketts. In the 1600s, the number of occurrences increases, though some spellings, such as Riccats/Riccatts are prevalent around the Gloucestershire/Wiltshire border. Overall, there is a great variety in the spelling of the surname in the 1500s and 1600s.

One of the earliest recorded entries spelled as Ricketts is in 1584, in the parish of East Knoyle, Wiltshire. The process of evolution from a prior form to Ricketts appears to vary based on location.

Name frequency

Ricketts is a moderately high frequency surname. It is found today in all the same English counties as in the 1881 Census, plus has spread throughout the rest of the UK and to the Channel Islands and Ireland. There has also been significant migration to many different countries, including Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, USA, the Caribbean and Peru.

This is a very large study. When the variants are included, the population today is estimated at 40,000 worldwide.


A large quantity of data has been collected globally and this is continually being added to by both research and correspondents throughout the world. Copies of the indexes from the GRO consisting of births, marriages and deaths, adoptions, consular and military records are held. Will extracts are still being gathered. There is data from many other sources such as the IGI, census returns, newspapers, photographs and other lesser known sources. We are currently extracting details from the three volume set of books called "The Poll Taxes of 1377, 1379 and 1381" by Carolyn Fenwick.


The Ricketts One-Name Study collaborates with The Ricketts Family History and DNA Project.

The DNA Project was started in 2009, and provides sponsored testing for those family trees which have not yet tested.

Participants take a harmless genealogy test where the result is 37 numbers representing counts of short repeats of DNA at locations on the Y-chromosome. The result contains no personal information. Since the Y-chromosome is passed from father to son, typically unchanged, it follows the path of the surname in most societies. Therefore, this test is very powerful for genealogy.

Only males can take this test, since the Y-chromosome is found only in males. Females have two X chromosomes, while a male has an X and a Y chromosome.

The Y-DNA result tells you about the direct male line, which is the man, his father, his father’s father, and back in time. You can compare the result for two men and determine if they have a common ancestor in a genealogical time frame. This Y-DNA test is especially helpful with a surname such as Ricketts, in sorting out all the different family trees, to ensure that the genealogy research is correct.

In addition, as more family trees test, you end up with groups of documented family trees that match, indicating they came from the same origin. Of course, you can’t make a documented connection as far back as the information provided by the DNA result. Even so, these groups of family trees that match help our research into surname origins, and can be used to bridge continents and make a connection to the ancestral country. For example, a branch of a family tree migrated and no documents exist to specify their origin. The Y-DNA test is especially useful in this situation.

Even those that have traced their documented family tree back centuries will benefit from testing, by finding other documented family trees to which they match, indicating they share an origin.

For additional information, please visit our DNA website below under Links, or contact the co-Administrator at, or the Administrator at

Your family tree might qualify for a sponsored test kit. The first one or two participants for a family tree can qualify for a sponsored (paid) test kit. Please contact us to determine if your line qualifies, or has already tested.


DNA Project Profile

DNA Project website

Read about the discoveries accomplished by our project:

This article was published in Discover Your Ancestors and covers several of the exciting discoveries achieved be The Ricketts Family History Project. Examples of different Y-DNA results are included with an explanation of the results.

An article which covers 5 case studies from The Ricketts Family History Project. These case studies are actual research situations and the actual DNA results. One case study involves adoption. This article was published in Discover Your Ancestors.

An article published in Suffolk Roots which covers 4 case studies from The Ricketts Family History Project, including research situations and results. In addition, the article covers in-depth information about the three DNA tests available for genealogy.

An article published in the Journal of One-Name Studies which covers the the early years of the Ricketts Surname Study and The Ricketts Family History Project. Published 2011.