Guild of One-Name Studies
One-name studies, Genealogy
This study came about through an interest in my father's line. He was descended from Tickles who, in the 19th century, ran a thriving blacksmith and farrier business close to the Liverpool docks. In researching his family tree I came across numerous records pertaining to other Tickle families, both in the UK and overseas, and decided to collect the data to provide a resource for other researchers interested in this name.
A main variant is Tickell. My father changed the spelling of his own surname from Tickle to Tickell in the 1930s (he thought it sounded more professional...) Other variants are Tickel, Ticle, Tickl, and the name Tickhill is related.
In historical records one can find many spellings, including Tickel, Ticle, Tikle, Tyckle. The names Dickel and Digel may also be variants. As it is a less common name, it is frequently transcribed incorrectly.
There are two main theories as to the origin of the name - that it is a location name, or it is derived from a Dutch or German personal name.
Most surname sites give its origin as being from Tickhill, in Yorkshire, England. The Surname database states that Tickle is an example of an Anglo-Saxon locational name from Tickhill, a place in West Yorkshire, which appeared as "Tichehilla" circa 1150 in the Yorkshire Register of Antiquities, and "Ticahil" in 1157 in the Yorkshire Charters. According to houseofnames.com the name Tickle was carried to England by Normans who migrated to Yorkshire following the Norman conquest of 1066. The Tickles held a family seat as Lords of the Manor of Tickhill. They also state the possibility of a link with the Norman noble, Roger de Busli, a Norman baron who participated in the conquest and later erected a castle at Tickhill.
The name itself is composed of the Olde English personal name "Tica", or the Olde English element "ticce(n)", kid, plus the second element "hyll", hill. It could be that there were other villages with a similar name, elsewhere in England, such as Cornwall, where the name is also found.
During the Middle Ages when migration for the purpose of job-seeking was becoming more common, people often took their former village name as a means of identification, thus resulting in a wide dispersal of the name.
In the UK, the Tickle surname is far more commonly found in Lancashire than Yorkshire. I have not yet found an explanation of this. My own family folklore has it that we are descended from a German gardener employed on Lord Derby's estate, but I have yet to find any corroborative evidence.
Tickles in North America may have no connection with anywhere in England. The alternative origin of the name is that it is derived from a German or Dutch name, such as Digel, Tichel. This may be more relevant in countries where there were large numbers of immigrants.
Early records of the name include:
In 1380, Richard II of England introduced a new tax called the Poll Tax, which everyone on the tax register had to pay. These are Tickle entries on the register at that time.
The International Genealogical Index (IGI) is a database of genealogical records compiled by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the Mormons) from various sources. It contains these early entries:
Migration to North America
Peirce Tickle settled in New England in 1699.
Migration to Australia
Tickles who migrated to Australia in the 19th century include Thomas Tickle in 1840, Joseph Tickle in 1848, and James & Mary Tickle, with infant daughter, Ellen, who arrived in 1849. They all arrived at Adelaide.
There are approximately 5,250 people in the world with the name Tickle. It is most prevalent in the USA and UK, each of which has over 2,000 people bearing the surname. The UK figure is currently around 2,320, making the surname the 4,011th most common.
This means that, out of every million people in the UK, about 37 will have the surname Tickle.
The map below, created by Named shows where the Tickle name is now most common in the UK. The 'hotspot' in Lancashire can be clearly seen, as well as other areas where the name is more common.
Maps created from UK census data show an initial concentration in Lancashire, Cheshire, and Devon in 1841. Over the years the distribution of the name gradually spreads to adjoining counties and further afield. The 1881 census showed 209 Tickles in Cheshire, 805 in Lancashire, and just 6 in Yorkshire.
The name and can also be found in many other countries, including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.
I am in the early stages of the study and chose to begin by collecting all Tickles (and associated spellings) listed in the Lancashire OnLine Parish Clerks Registers of baptisms, marriages, and burials.
I have registered my DNA on Ancestry and GEDMATCH and hope to persuade some male relatives to take a DNA test.
Data on Tickle surname from 1881 UK census
Distribution of surname in 1881 and 21st century England & Wales
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