Hitchcock Family Crest, Coat of Arms and Name History
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The name Hitchcock is Anglo-Saxon in origin. It is a derivative of the nickname “Hitch” which is short for Richard, so in this context it would be considered patronymic, as would all other variations of the name’s spelling.
The variations in the spelling of the surname includes; Hitchcock; Hichecoc; Hichecok; and Hichecokes among others. The variations in spelling of surnames, as well as many given names, dating back to ancient times can be attributed to a lack of consistency regarding guidelines for spelling in use by the scribes who recorded such information, many of which were in the habit of spelling phonetically. The issue of multiple spellings of names in records was compounded by the diversity of languages in use in European countries at this time.
Until the Norman invasion and conquest, surnames were rarely if ever used. In the small settlements and villages which existed during earlier times in most of England, residents found little need for surnames as everyone in these communities knew each other and a given name would usually suffice. However, as communities grew and people began to migrate on a larger scale, along with the need of the government having a reliable way to track people for tax and census purposes, the Norman aristocracy’s penchant for using surnames seemed the appropriate evolution to this problem. In most instances to distinguish themselves, one from another, those not of the noble class would often be identified by their given name plus their occupation while others may have been identified by their given name and one of their parent’s names. There was a boundless supply from which surnames could be formed, in addition to the use of patriarchal/matriarchal names or reference to the individuals occupation, there were things such as defining physical traits, a familiar geographical location or a topographical landmark found near the individual’s home or birthplace, the name of the village in which the person lived, and so much more. Over the course or time, surnames would come not just to represent an individual but whole families.
One of the earliest record of any variation of this surname is that of William Hygecok which appears in the York tax rolls from 1329. The tax rolls, were a series of census and tax records kept by the English Treasury by order of King Edward III, with the oldest dating back to the 12th century. These documents are considered the oldest set of records detailing English governance in the United Kingdom spanning a period of over seven centuries.
While the practice of using surnames was instituted primarily for tracking of census and taxation purposes, the also were useful in the keeping of immigration records, especially with the discovery of America and the addition of other countries to the British Commonwealth such as; Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Brothers, William, Thomas, and Matthew Hitchcock are recorded as some of the earliest immigrants to America bearing the surname or any variation of its spelling. They arrived in 1635 and settled in Boston, Massachusetts. John Hitchcock was one of the early settlers to Canada arriving in 1784 and settling in Saint John, New Brunswick. Robert Hitchcock was one of the early settlers to Australia landing in 1848 and settling in Adelaide. A. J. Hitchcock was an early settler to New Zealand, landing in 1880 and settling in Auckland.
Worldwide, the highest concentration of people with the surname Hitchcock are found in New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. By state, the largest percentile of those with the surname Hitchcock live in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, and New York.
There are many persons of note who bear the surname Hitchcock, probably one of the best known is Alfred Hitchcock. He was born in England but due to his career as a film maker, he resided in the United States for most of his life becoming a citizen in 1955.
Hitchcock’s career spanned over fifty years during which he pioneered elements in the genres of suspense and psychological thrillers. He is credited with directing over fifty films. Hitchcock won many honors and awards for his film making including, several Golden Globe awards, BAFTA awards, and an Academy Award in 1940 for best picture. He was also awarded Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 1980.
Blazons & Genealogy Notes
1) (Preshute, co. Wilts). Ar. on a cross az. five fleurs-de-lis or, in the dexter chief quarter a lion ramp. gu. Crest—A lion’s head erased or, in the mouth a round buckle ar.
2) Gu. a chev. betw. three alligators ar. Crest—An alligator ppr.