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Adkins Surname History
To understand the evolution of a surname to it's earliest origins, one must understand that even in the earliest days of a name, there have been different spellings of that name simply because surnames were infrequently written down, as few people could write. Accents and other dialectal issues heavily influenced how many variations of any surname there were due to the fact that many people were illiterate and did not know how their own name was spelled. This meant that the officials often had to guess at the spelling after hearing the person speak their name, leading to the numerous variations we see today.
Following the crusades in Europe in the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries, a need was felt for a family name to replace the one given to a child at birth. This was only recognized by those of noble blood, as it granted them added prestige and a practical advantage to their status. The earliest records of the name mentions a gentleman named Adekin who had no surname. This was recorded in 1191 in County Norfolk. The next recorded version of it is in Canterbury in the year 1279, being that of a John Adekyn. Another John, John Adekynes was documented in County Surrey in the year 1332.
All throughout history, there are recordings of this surname having moved around to different countries, which makes it hard to pinpoint a specific varitation to a certain time period.
The first recorded Adkins in the Colonies is disputed due to a discrepancy in dates. One was that of Niccodcmus Adkins, who traveled from Northumberland to Virginia in 1635. The other is Sir John Adkins of Chard.
Evidence has been found that suggests that most of the Adkins people that came to the Colonies from England are direct descendants of Sir John Adkins of Chard, Somerset, England. Sir John Adkins was a descendant of William Adekyn of County Somersetshire, born in 1327 and deceased in 1377. Sir John Adkins was a well-known merchant, engaging in commerce with the Colonies. He emigrated from Bristol, England which was in close proximity to Chard, England. In his will, dated the 16th of July, 1636, Sir John refers to his grandson, son of John Adkins II, who was born in the Colonies between 1615 and 1636. He also names his wife Katherine, his eldest son Edward, his 2 other sons Francis and William, and his sister Sarah Sellwood. He also named his daughters, Katherine Wells, Hannah Ford and Elizabeth Smith. It is believed that Sir John Adkins came to the Colonies prior to February of 1623 because of personal letters that have been found addressed to him by his wife. Several other "Johns" emigrated to Virginia but these were around the middle of the seventeenth century, several years after Sir John of Chard's will was made and probated in 1636, hence the discrepancy as to who arrived first.
Today, the variations of the surname aren't as popular as they used to be, with Adkins being the most popular, Atkins following in second. There are many notables in history of this surname, some suggesting that Adekyn is a name of noble blood, of which Sir John Adkins of Chard was a direct descendant of, that most American Adkins are believed to also be descendants of. Regardless of nobility, there are also several historical documents refering to servents of Kings that share the Adkins surname.
The family history of the Adkins last name is maintained by the AncientFaces community. Join the community by adding to to this genealogy of the Adkins:
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Adkins Country of Origin, Nationality, & Ethnicity
Adkins Meaning & Etymology
Adkins Pronunciation & Spelling Variations
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Researching misspellings and alternate spellings of the Adkins last name are important to understanding the etymology of the name. In the past, when few people knew how to write, names such as Adkins were transcribed based on their pronunciation when people's names were recorded in court, church, and government records. This could have led to misspellings of Adkins. Family names like Adkins transform in their pronunciation and spelling as they travel across villages, family unions, and languages over time.
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Adkins Family Tree
Here are a few of the Adkins genealogies shared by AncientFaces users. Click here to see more Adkinses
- Ethel Bennett born 1902
- Elizabeth Adkins-Smith
- Martha Edis Smith-Adkins
- Albert Ben Adkins born 1911
- Estel Geneva Honaker-Adkins born 1915
- Ben Adkins born 1890
- Jesse Adkins
- Carlos Adkins
- Claiburn Adkins born 1917
- Winfred Adkins born 1909