Riggs Family Crest, Coat of Arms and Name History
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Riggs Surname Name Meaning, Origin, History, & Etymology
Riggs is a northern English and Scottish topographic name of Anglo-Saxon origin denoting a person who lived on or by a ridge, deriving from the Old Norse word hryggr, Olde English word hrycg, and Middle English word rigge. It may have also referred to a person from a town or village named Ridge, which was named after the geographic feature, such as the village of Ridge in Hampshire or the lands of Rigg in East Lothian, Scotland Another meaning theory is the name means rich or wealthy, from the Danish word rig.
The names derived from a family living in Lancashire and Cumberland, England. Spelling variations or surnames with similar etymologies include Rygges, Ryges, Rigg, Rigge, Rig, and Wriggs. One of the first documented bearers of this surname was Geoffrey de la Rigge, who was listed in the Hampshire Pipe Rolls in 1166 AD.
Riggs Family Mottoes
I have identified three family mottoes in Latin and provide the English translation:
1) Virtute et labore (By valor and exertion)
2) Festina lente (Be quick without impetuosity)
3) Dum vivo cano (While alive, celebrate)
Popularity & Geographic Distribution
The last name Riggs ranks 947th popularity in the United Status as of the 2000 Census. The name ranks particularly high in the following four states: West Virginia (349th), Oklahoma (459th), Indiana (469th), and Nevada (469th).
The surname Riggs frequency/commonness ranks as follows in the British Isles: England (3,609th), Scotland (6,977th), Wales (3,390th), Ireland (5,075th) and Northern Ireland (20,698th). In England, it ranks highest in Dorset. In Scotland, the surname ranks highest in Clackmannanshire. In Ireland, it ranks highest in Leinster. In Wales, it ranks highest in Pembrokeshire.
The name is also present throughout the remainder English speaking world: Canada (4,652nd), New Zealand (6,718th), Australia (3,206th), and South Africa (33,227th).
Riggs Family Tree & Riggs Genealogy
Rigge of Wood Broughton
This family, previously to the marriage with heiress of Wood Broughton, had been settled, time out of mind, in the parish of Hawkshead. Roger Rigge Esquire, son of Clement Rigge Esq. of Hawkshead and Catherine Moore of Middleton, was born in 1776. In 1736, he married Mary, daughter and co-heiress of John Fletcher Esquire of Wood Broughton and Mary Knipe of Broughton Hall, and had the following issue with her: Fletcher, Anne (married John Heys), and Jane (married Edward Moore of Stockwell). He died in 1746 and was succeeded by his son Fletcher. Fletcher Rigge was an Esquire, Barrister-at-Law, Justice of the Peace, and Deputy Lieutenant who was born in 1743. In 1782, he married Susanna, daughter of Joseph Saunders of Ealing, and had issue with her as follows: Gray and Mary (married Francis Bedingfeld of Ditchingham). In 1808, he married Sarah, daughter of Edward Moore of Stockwell, and had the following issue with her: 1) Henry Fletcher (discussed below), 2) Charles Gray (Captain in Royal Navy, married Ellen Stockdale), 3) Stephen, 4) William, 5) Edward (Captain in the Cartmel Volunteers, married Maria Louisa and later Ellen Cooper), 6) Caroline (married Theophilus Maurice Stephen Johnson of Spalding), and 7) Louisa (married Frederick Cartwright Dickson). He died in 1857 and was succeeded by his son Henry. Henry Fletcher Rigge was an Esquire of Wood Broughton, county Lancaster, Captain of the 2nd Royal Lancashire Militia, Justice of the Peace, Deputy Lieutenant, and High Sheriff, born in 1809. In 1849, he married Rosetta Margaret, daughter of James Machell of Newby Bridge, and had three issue with her as follows: Gray (Lieutenant in the 1st Royal Lancashire Militia, assumed the surname Grayrigge), Rosetta Mary, and Rosetta Ellen. The Rigge coat of arms is blazoned in the medieval art of heraldry as follows: Gules, two bars gemelles between three escallops argent. Crest: A sheldrake proper, in its beak an escallop argent. Motto: Festina lente. They were seated at Wood Broughton, Cartmel, North Lancashire.
Other Branches of the Riggs Family Tree
Thomas Riggs was born in Southampton, England around 1490. He married Jane Richardson and had a son with her named Edward. Edward Riggs was born in Yorkshire, England in 1551. He married Joan Pudsay and had two daughter and two sons: Mary, Elizabeth, John, and Edward II.
James Rygges was born in Yorkshire, England in 1502. He married Mary Catherine Sturgill and had a son named Thomas. Thomas Ryges (or Riggs) Sr. was born in Lincolnshire, England in 1525. He had a son named Rafe. Rafe Riggs was born in England in c. 1560. He had a son named Ralph. Ralph Riggs was born in Hollest, Sussex, England in 1587. He had a son named Ogle Riggs who was born c. 1630. He had a son named Thomas. Thomas Riggs was born in Eastbourne, Sussex, England in 1651. He had a son named Abram. Abram Riggs was born in England in 1674. He came to colonial America. He had a son named Isaac. Isaac Riggs was born in Ireland around 1723. He married Ruth Durant and had three issue prior to his 1759 death in North Carolina: John Russell, Isaac, and Jacob. John Russell Riggs was born in Pasquotank, North Carolina in 1743. He married Elisabeth Morris and had two sons with her: Issac and Asa Noah. Asa Noah was born around 1803. He married Frances Harrington and had a son with her named Basil. Basil Murrell Riggs was born in 1841. He married Ann Jane Melville in Onslow County, North Carolina in 1859. He was the father of the following children: Jefferson David, Sarah F., Julie A., Susan, Agnes, Martha Caroline, Mary, Laura, John Cahoun, and Daniel Franklin. His three sons all had issue as discussed below
1) Jefferson Davis Riggs was born in Onslow, North Carolina around 1861. He married Hepsy Morton and had the following children: Allen, Albert, John Wiley, and Alice.
2) Daniel Franklin Riggs was born in Onslow, North Carolina in 1883. He had a son named Leon Murrill Riggs who was born in 1908. Leon had a son named Waters W. Riggs who was born in the 1940s.
3) John Calhoun Riggs was born in Onslow County, North Carolina in 1874. He married Rena Verona Freeman and had the following children with her: Elver B., Mary Letha, John Percy Riggs, Crain Murrell Riggs, Alrice Kile Riggs, Jeanie Riggs, Ralph Livingston Riggs, and Richard Riggs.
William Rigg was born in Fifeshire, Scotland in around 1582 AD. He married Catherine Row and had a daughter with her named Janet. Janet was born in Fife, Scotland in 1605. She married Sir Walter Riddell, 2nd Baronet of Riddell Clan, and had five issue with him: William, Archibald, John, Walter, and Archibald.
Marriages of Riggss
1) Jhon Riggs married Katheren Brandwaye in All Saints, Huntingdon, England in 1573
2) Peter Riggs married llin Haselwod in Saint Michael Bassishaw, London, England in 1584
3) Edmonde Rigges married Joane Allyn in Egham, Surrey, England in 1562
4) John Rigg married Ellsabeth Leabane in Coningsby, Lincoln, England in 1569
5) John Riggs married Jane Shore in Killucan, Westmeath, Ireland in 1763
6) Edward Riggs married Lucy Carthy in Killucan, Westmeath, Ireland in 1788
7) John Riggs married Dorrite Frobensun in Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts in 1733
8) William Riggs married Alice Standwood in in Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts in 1776
9) Thomas Riggs married Mary Millet in Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts in 1658
10) Sarah Riggs married John Tucker in Salem, Massachusetts in 1681
11) Hannah Riggs married Henry Maines in Morris, New Jersey in 1798
12) Jacob Rigs married Polly Lent in Hanover Presbyterian Church, Yorktown, New York in 1795
Early American and New World Settlers
Some of the earliest settlers in colonial America bearing this name include:
1) Edward Riggs, born in 1593, came to Roxbury, Suffolk, Massachusetts in 1633, with wife Lydia, and children John, Edward, Mary, and Elizabeth
2) Richard Riggs came to Isle of Wight, Virginia in 1637
3) Richard Riggs came to Virginia in 1645
4) Francis Riggs came to Maryland in 1663
5) Thomas Riggs went to New England in 1664
6) Jane Riggs came to Maryland in 1667
7) Francis Riggs came to Virginia in 1673
8) James Riggs came to Maryland in 1684
9) Abraham Riggs came to Virginia in 1701
10) Martha Riggs came to Virginia in 1713
11) John Riggs came to Maryland in 1716
12) John Riggs came to Maryland in 1725
13) Edward Riggs came to New York, New York in 1763
14) John Riggs came to Pennsylvania in 1773
15) William Riggs came to Boston, Massachusetts in 1774
Several thousand members of the Riggs family came to the United States through Ellis Island, during the nineteenth century, including:
1) John Riggs came from England aboard the City of Montreal in 1872
2) George Riggs came from England aboard the Calabria in 1872
3) Henry Seymour Riggs came from London, England aboard the Mauretania in 1913
4) Frank Riggs came from Bristol aboard the Umbria in 1903
5) Anne Riggs came from Ireland aboard the Alaska in 1891
6) Lizzie Riggs came from England aboard the Philadelphia in 1905
7) Francis Riggs came from Ireland aboard the Adriatic in 1890
8) Mary Riggs came from Ireland aboard the Germanic in 1878
9) Elisabeth Riggs came from Ireland aboard the Webster in 1860
10) George Riggs came from Ireland aboard the Bothnia in 1883
11) Karick Riggs came from Paris aboard the Atiaina in 1876
12) George Riggs came from Liverpool, England aboard the Britannic in 1892
Some of the earliest settlers in Canada bearing this name include:
1) John, William, and Thomas Riggs came to Ontario, Canada in 1871
2) Jane Riggs, age 47, came to St. John, New Brunswick in 1841
3) Frances Riggs, age 19, came to Quebec in 1880 aboard the Sardinian
4) Warren Riggs came to Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1881 aboard the Circassian
5) George and Margaret Riggs came to Quebec in 1871 aboard the Prussian
Some of the earliest settlers in Australia and New Zealand bearing this name include:
1) Andrew Cooper Riggs came to Lyttleton aboard the Robert Small in 1859
2) Arthur George Riggs came to Lyttleton aboard the Robert Small in 1859
3) William Riggs came to Wellington aboard the Tongario in 1894
4) James Riggs came to London aboard the Lyttleton in 1893
5) Ernest Rigg came to Wellington in 1890
Grantees of Arms
1) Ralph Rigges of Farnham or Fareham, county Surrey, son of Thomas, confirmed by Segar, 1640
2) William Riggs, parish of Clerkenwell, Middlesex, England, one of the King’s Auditors, Barker’s Grants
3) G. S. Rigg of Motley Bank, Bowdon, county Chester, England 1892
4) Rigge, now Rooke (widow), of Arklid-in-Furness-Fells, county Lancashire, and Clifton, Bristol, 1840
5) Riggs-Miller, late Manvers, of county Oxford, and Ireland, 1826
There are hundreds of notable people with the Riggs surname. This page will mention a handful. Famous people with this last name include:
1) Frank Duncan Riggs (1950) was a member of the US House of Representatives from 1995-1999, an Army veteran born in Louisville, Kentucky
2) Elmer Samuel Riggs (1869-1963) was an American paleontologist known for his work with the Field Museum of Natural History, born in Trafalgar Indiana, educated at the University of Texas
3) Thomas Riggs Jr. (1873-1945) was an engineer from Ilchester, Maryland who served as the 3rd Governor of the Alaska Territory from 1918-1921
4) Russell Scott Riggs (1971) was a professional stock car racing driver born in Bahama, North Carolina who raced for NASCAR from 2004-2013
5) Lutah Maria Riggs (1896-1984) was an American architect from Toledo, Ohio who worked for several decades in California, being the first woman in California to become a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects
6) Gerald Antonio Riggs (1960) was a former running back in the NFL who played from 1982 to 1991 for the Atlanta Falcons and Washington Redskins, born in Tullos, Louisiana
7) Richard Arthur Rigg (1872-1964) was a Methodist minister who served in the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba Canada from 1915-1917
8) Rebecca Rigg (1967) was an Australian actress, born in Sydney, known for her roles in Ellie Parker and Fatty Finn.
9) Keith Edward Rigg (1906-1955) was an Australian cricket player born in Malvern, Melbourne who plated from 1931-1937
10) Edwin Augustus Rigg, was a military officer in the American Civil War and Apache Wars, and a 49er, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Riggs America Civil War Veterans
There were several soldiers with the last name Riggs who served in the American Civil War, including the following:
1) Washington Riggs of the 27th Regiment Ohio Infantry (Union)
2) John T. Riggs of the 176th Regiment New York Infantry (Union)
3) James L. Riggs of the 5th Regiment West Virginia Infantry (Union)
4) Alfred B. Riggs of the 32nd Regiment North Carolina Infantry (Confederacy)
5) Bazel A. Riggs of the 3rd Regiment North Carolina Infantry (Confederacy)
6) Edward Riggs of the 17th Regiment North Carolina (Confederacy)
7) Augustus Riggs of the 35th Regiment Iowa Infantry (Union)
8) George T. Riggs of the 25th Regiment Indiana Infantry (Union)
9) Staley D. Riggs of the 25th Regiment Indiana Infantry (Union)
10) Robert F. Riggs of the 14th Regiment Missouri Calvary (Union)
11) George Wesley Riggs of the 33rd Regiment Illinois (Union)
12) Burdett Riggs of the 105th Regiment Pennsylvania (Union)
13) George Riggs of the 105th Regiment Pennsylvania (Union)
14) Albert M. Riggs of the 9th Regiment Kansas Cavalry (Union)
Riggs America Revolution Veterans
There were several soldiers with the last name Riggs who served in the Revolutionary War, including the following:
1) Private Reuben Riggs of Massachusetts
2) Captain Abner Riggs of Connecticut
3) Private Alexander Riggs of New Jersey
4) Captain Moses Riggs of Connecticut
5) Private David Riggs of Massachusetts
6) Private Jacob Riggs of Virginia
7) Private Miner Riggs of Connecticut
8) Stephen Riggs of New Hampshire
9) Private James Riggs of New Jersey
10) Private Charles Riggs of Maryland
11) Private Daniel Riggs of New York
12) Private James Riggs of Connecticut
13) Private Laban Riggs of Connecticut
14) Private George Riggs of Maryland
Further Information on the Riggs Family:
Blazons & Genealogy Notes
1) or Rygges – (Strangle Thorpe, co. Lincoln, and co. Middlesex). Gu. a fess erm. betw. three water spaniels ar. each holding in the mouth a birdbolt or. Crest—A talbot pass. gu. eared or, holding in the mouth a birdbolt gold.
2) (Steward of the Household to Charles, Lord Mount joy, Lord Deputy of Ireland; Fun. Ent. Ulster’s Office, 1600). Erm. a cross patonce purp. a mullet for diff.
3) (Chorlton-on-Medlock, co. Lancaster, 1875). Erm. on a chev. gu. three annulets or. Crest—A cock sa. combed and wattled gu. Motto—Dum vivo cano.
4) or Rigges – Erm. a cross flory purp.
5) (co. Cumberland). Erm. on a chev. gu. three annulets or. Crest—A human heart or, charged with a rose gu.
6) (Carbery, co. Edinburgh). Ar. a saltire vert cantoned with four mullets gu.
7) (Dounfield, co. Fife, 1750). Same Arms. Crest—A cock sa. beaked and armed gu. Motto—Virtute et labore.
8) (Rigsland, afterwards Morton, Scotland). Vert a saltire engr. ar. betw. a mullet in chief, two garbs in flanks, and three roses in base or, a bordure of the third, charged with eight crescents of the field. Same Crest and Motto.
9) (co. Lincoln). Ar. a chev. betw. three mullets pierced sa.
10) (Wood Broughton, Cartmel, co. Lancaster). Gu. two bars gemel betw. three escallops ar. Crest—A sheldrake ppr. in the beak an escallop ar. Motto—Festina lente.
11) (Farnham, co. Surrey, Southampton, and Stanning, co. Sussex). Gu. a fess vair betw. three water spaniels ar. each holding in the mouth a birdbolt or, feathered of the third. Crest—A talbot pass. gu. eared or, holding in the mouth a birdbolt gold, feathered ar.
12) (London. Visit. London, 1568). Gu. a fess betw. three water spaniels ar. each holding in the mouth a birdbolt in bend or. Crest—A water spaniel ar. holding in the mouth a birdbolt or.