The Ridgeon surname has traditionally had a high concentration in Suffolk, although the migration of the surname to other parts of the UK and abroad has been extensive.
In 1841, of 137 individuals called Ridgeon/Ridgen/Redgen, 97 (71%) were living in Suffolk. There is some variation depending on the surname spelling, with 90% of Ridgeons (44 of 49) living in Suffolk, 53% of Ridgens (27 of 51), and 70% of Redgens (26 of 37) (searched on Find My Past, 27th March 2016).
Some interesting patterns arise in 1881 (although the numbers are small and proportions are easily affected in such instances). Eighty of 121 Ridgeons recorded in the 1881 Census were resident in Suffolk (66%) compared to just 8 of 31 (26%) Ridgens, who were dispersed throughout England in counties including Northamptonshire, Yorkshire, Essex, Surrey, Cheshire, Northamptonshire, and London. There were only 3 individuals recorded with the Redgen spelling in 1881, all of whom were living in Newmarket, Cambridgeshire (although the town is now in Suffolk) (searched on Find My Past, 27th March 2016).
By 1911, only 33% of Ridgeons (89 of 268) were living in Suffolk. Although almost two thirds (63%) of all Ridgens lived in Suffolk, the numbers are very small (5 of 8 people). No Redgens were recorded as living in Suffolk in 1911 (9 of 11 were living in Yorkshire, 1 in Lancashire, and 1 in Berkshire) (searched on Find My Past on 27th March 2016).
John Redgen (c1810-1862) of Old Newton, Suffolk was transported to New South Wales in 1833 for stealing sheep. Recent contact with descendents of this John evidences further surname evolution, with the surname surviving in this instance as Regent.
Ridgeons of Hawstead, Suffolk
I am currently focusing my research on the Ridgeons of Hawstead, Suffolk. This line originates with George Redgin (c1753-c1830) who moved to Hawstead from the parish of Norton, Suffolk around 1775. He married Martha Pitt on 26 July 1775 and went on to have nine children, seven boys and two girls.
I have reconstructed the tree of George and Martha’s son Benjamin (1794-1868) which sees all of his eight children leave Hawstead for London, with branches later moving to Windsor, Berkshire. This Ridgeon line dies out with Benjamin’s great-granddaughter Edith Florence Ridgeon, who died in the 1960s.
Conversely George and Martha’s youngest son’s line has been more prolific. I have found over 330 Ridgeon descendents of William Ridgeon (1797-1857) and his wife Elizabeth. William’s line survives today in Ridgeon families located in Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Durham, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Warwickshire, and Merthyr Tydfil, Wales.