Guild of One-Name Studies
One-name studies, Genealogy
Variants: Tickel, Tickell, Tickhill
Category: 2 - A study where research using core genealogical datasets and transcriptions is well under way, but currently in some countries only.
DNA website: www.familytreedna.com/groups/tickle/about
Contact: Mrs Melody McKay Burton
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.
I've discovered that there are two distinct sets of Tickles - those with British ancestors and those with German ones. The German line originally had the surname Digel or similar but members of the family who emigrated to North America changed this to Tickle.
The study includes both the British and German lines.
This is the name the study is registered under, as it is the more common variant.
The main variant of the Tickle surname is Tickell. My father changed the spelling of his own surname from Tickle to Tickell in the 1930s (he thought it sounded more professional...) In early census and other records, the same person my have their name spelt Tickle on some records and Tickell on others, but families tended to settle on one or other variant in more modern times. In older historical records the name may be spelt Tickel, Tickal, and Tickl.
The name is frequently transcribed incorrectly in online records, for example as Fickle, Gickle or Sickle. I’ve also come across it as Teekel or Teacle, but know from earlier and later records that it is the same family.
Most websites and publications state that Tickle is a locational surname, and usually give its origin as being from Tickhill, in West Yorkshire, England. My research leads me to believe that there are multiple origins. In the UK, the name is far more common in Lancashire than in Yorkshire, which would be surprising if the sole origin was Yorkshire.
Tickhill appeared as "Tichehilla" in the Yorkshire Register of Antiquities (c. 1150), and as "Ticahil" in the Yorkshire Charters (1157). There is a possible link with the Norman baron, Roger deBusli, who participated in the Norman conquest of England in 1066 and later erected a castle at Tickhill.
The name itself is composed of the Olde English personal name "Tica", or the Olde English "ticce", kid, plus "hyll", hill. It could be connected with someone who kept young goats on a hill ,,, It’s possible that there were villages with a similar name in different parts of England, such as Devon and Cornwall, where the name is also found in early records.
During the Middle Ages, people began to migrate to different areas for work. They often took their former village name as a means of identification, and this led to a wider dispersal of surnames. One of my interests in this study is seeing whether there is any link between the Tickles/Tickell’s in different areas. Y-DNA evidence from males who carry the name may help to answer this.
As mentioned above, if you are a Tickle in North America, your surname may come from German ancestors, probably from south-west Germany. I am currently researching a family who have their origin in the Wurrtemberg area. I will research the German origin for Digel at some point in the future.
My own family folklore has it that our Tickles are descended from a German gardener called Johannes Digel who was employed on Lord Derby's estate, but I have yet to find any corroborative evidence.
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. I’m investigating various families in the US, in some cases with the help of their Descendents, and will put more in this section later. I’m currently working on several families who emigrated to Canada from various parts of the UK. Some of their Descendents moved from Canada to the US. A branch of my own family emigrated to Galveston, Texas.
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. I am working on data for some Australian families.
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, meaning that, out of every million people in the UK, about 37 will have the surname Tickle.
In addition, approximately 1750 people have a surname that is one of the main variants, of which about 910 are Tickells, mainly in the UK, Australia and the US.
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’ve now been working on the study for just over a year (although with some long gaps). There is such a lot to do and I’m still in the early stages. I’m gradually adding information to the Tickle Trees website, but have more in the research stages. This is what I have focussed on in the past year:
If you have records that would add to the study, please get in touch with me. Please also join the Tickle Trees Facebook group, which I hope will become more active in 2020.
I have registered my DNA on Ancestry and GEDMATCH and have four Tickle/Tickell males who have taken a Y-DNA test. I’m really hoping to get more in 2020 as this can give clues about family connections toons tgat go belong paper records.
Data on Tickle surname from 1881 UK census
Distribution of surname in 1881 and 21st century England & Wales
You may find our other Guild websites of interest: