Guild of One-Name Studies
One-name studies, Genealogy
Variants: Nicken, Nickins
Category: 1 - A study where research using core genealogical datasets and transcriptions is in its early stages.
DNA website: www.familytreedna.com/groups/nickens
Contact: Dr Janice Nickens Valdez
This study focuses on the surname Nickens.
One early part of the research on this family examined all occurrences of the name in US census records from 1790 to 1930 in order to trace descendants of the earliest families to determine if and how they were all related. The conclusion is that most of the families found in the US today with the Nickens surname are descendants of one family who appeared in Lancaster County, Virginia in 1691 and that the name itself was a shortened version of another name.
The name is found infrequently in other places in the world. There are a few individuals that appear in US census records with the name Nickens who have different origins identified. One individual identified Ireland as his place of birth, one family identified Germany as their place of birth, and another identified England. There are a few pre 1800 records of people with the name Nickens in England but there do not appear to be any current families with that name according to the ONS Website.
The Nickens surname in the United States is unusual because it appears to be a name that originated in Lancaster County, Virginia from another name. In 1691 a couple was freed from slavery by John Carter of Corotoman, a wealthy and influential member of colonial society. The couple were named in the will as Black Dick and Criss. In 1705 Black Dick appeared on a tithable list as Richard Yoconohawcon. After he died in 1706 his widow continued to use the name Yoconohawcon although the third syllable was dropped to become Yoconhawcon in the records (with different spellings). Their children began to use the name Nickon or Nickin in 1709 and in 1713 a son identified himself as Edward Nickin, son of Richard Nickin. Confirmation of the fact that Yoconohawcon and Nicken were the same family was found when Richard's widow Chriss was referred to as both Yoconhawon and Nickon in different records concerning a single court case. Over time an "s" was added to the name both in the location where it originated and in places where descendants moved.
Names compiled from the 2000 and 2010 US Census at https://projects.newsday.com/databases/long-island/census-last-names/?where=name^nickens&offset=0
Number Of People
People Per 100,000 Population
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