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About the study
Several derivations of the surname Sackett have been proposed:
- descent from Adam le Sackere, a "sacker" and exporter of wool, whose ancestors came to England with William the Conqueror;
- Roman archers, from the Latin Sagittarius, an arrow;
- manufacturer of sacks, being a diminutive of either Old English sacc or Norse-Viking Sekkr;
- a nickname from Middle English sa(c)ket ‘small sack, purse’, perhaps for a maker of purses (Oxford Dictionary of Family Names, 2016);
- an "adversary", from French Sacquet and Old German Sacco, meaning to dispute, strive, blame;
- a "cottager by the sea", the early form "Saket" meaning "sea", then pronounced "say", and "cot", on the analogy of Beckett, "bee" and "cot" indicating a cottager who kept bees.
The word "sacket" has two dictionary definitions: a bag; and a term of reproach or abuse.
None of these possible derivations of the surname is likely. Any would have resulted in the name arising independently in different places; but such is the concentration of the name in early records in a small area of Thanet that it may be supposed that the name originated in a single family. Certainly, the surname, first found in 1317, is seen to predate the earliest recorded use (c1440) of the word "sakett" meaning a bag.
Historical occurrences of the name
The Sackett family originated in England in the Isle of Thanet, Kent, probably at Sackett's Hill in the parish of St Peter's. The earliest record is that of William Saket of Southborough, St Peter in Thanet who, in 1317, was in a legal dispute with the Abbot of St Augustine.
The Sacketts were among the first colonists of America, with Simon Sackett arriving at the Massachusetts Bay Colony just a few months after the Winthrop Fleet of 1630, and John Sackett, possibly a nephew of Simon, arriving in New Haven sometime before 1641.