Guild of One-Name Studies
One-name studies, Genealogy
Category: 1 - A study where research using core genealogical datasets and transcriptions is in its early stages.
Contact: Mr David Bicket
The Bicket family tree and its branches have humble origins at least back into the 18th century which is the farthest back to which most of the branches have been traced with reasonable certainty. Typical occupations at that time included farmers, weavers, shoemakers, bonnetmakers, and fleshers (or butchers). Only a few of our ancestors were rich enough to own land so that they appeared on tax records. Indeed, the primary reason for the emigration from Scotland of countless families including the Bickets apparently was the economic hardship of making a living in the area, in particular through periods of radical economic change caused by improved methods of farming which required less manpower, by the rise and fall of industries such as the textile industry, and by soaring population due to improved survival rates.
The main current variant for BICKET is BICKETT. There have been some changes to BECKET and BECKETT, but most people with those spellings appear to be unrelated since before the 1600s. BICKER is also found.
Spellings occurring in early Ayrshire records include: BECHET BECHOT BECKET BECKETT BEGGERT BICHAT BICHET BICHETT BICHOT BICKER BICKET BICKETT BIGERT BIGGER BIGGART BIGGERT BIGHOT BIRGET BOCHOT BOCKET.
My theory is that BIGGART is one of' the earliest forms of the name, and that the name is ultimately a locative or toponymic name, i.e. a designation of people who came from a particular place, in this case Biggar (on a main route to Glasgow). They settled in the area just south of Glasgow, close to Stewarton. Most people with the surnames BECKET or BECKETT appear to have different origins, so are not related.
All BICKET branches which have been identified (except one) go back to Ayrshire, in particular the area around Fenwick, Stewarton, and Kilmarnock. The one exception is a branch from Northern Ireland which went to the US, but a history of that branch identifies it as having originally come from Scotland, without specifying precisely from where. There was significant migration from Ayrshire to Northern Ireland, so it is highly likely that this branch also comes originally from the same area.
A DNA project has been set up for the BICKET one-name study, with the intention of getting one or two males from each of the unlinked branches of Bickets tested, to determine how and when they were linked (most probably in the 1700s). The project is described here. You can also get in touch with David Bicket (see below) for more information.
You may find our other Guild websites of interest: