Wyckoff Family History & Genealogy

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Wyckoff Surname History

            In America, the surname has been spelled differently over successive generations.  Over 50 spellings have been listed.   Descendants of Pieter Wyckoff were verified, arranged, and listed in the 1950 publication, Wyckoff Family in America.   The most recent edition can be ordered as a CD from the website:  www.wyckoffassociation.org.  Events at the Wyckoff Farm House Museum in Brooklyn are announced at the same website.
Unfortunately, a false meaning and origin of the name were promulgated by the Wyckoff Association of America over decades, but the truth is finally ascending.

             The name Wyckoff is often assumed to be Dutch in origin because it was the surname adopted when Pieter Claessen was living among Dutch settlers in New Amsterdam, when it was mandated by the English administrators to take a last name.  The name actually denotes the location of his home south of Norden in Ost Friesland from where the young Pieter Claessen emigrated to New Amsterdam.   The name has different spellings and connotations in Dutch and Frisian.  The Frisian meaning of wik, a settlement on a bay or waterway is most appropriate for his home, since Wykhof was on a waterway leading from the bay of the Ems River inland to Marianhafe in Ost Frisland, not far from the North Sea coast .  Dutch wijk signifies a district within a large settlement, and may be borrowed from the Latin vicus.   An alternative interpretation in Ostfrisian meaning a yard around a sacred space or sanctuary is discussed.

Wyckoff Country of Origin, Nationality, & Ethnicity

            Descendants of Pieter Claessen Wyckoff in America can be sure that their surname in all of its various spellings originated in Germany, specifically near Marianhafe in Ost Friesland which is east of the Ems River.  The evidence as presented by Wilhelm Wykhoff and Hans Schrader in the 1988 issue of the Wyckoff Bulletin is very convincing.            Frisland ia a cultural and linguistic area along the southern shores of the North Sea from the islands east of the Denmark peninsula through Germany and into northeast Netherlands.  Geographically, the three territories are West Frisland, Ost Frisland, and Nord Frisland.  Frisian is a language that cannot be understood by Germans or Netherlanders.  Old Frisian and Old English were closely related.  For centuries, most Frisians have been either dairy farmers or sea traders, and some like the Wykoffs, were both.  Around 700 A.D., Frisians were the dominant maritime traders in Northern Europe, with an important trading center at Dorestad in the Rhine River valley.   

Wyckoff Meaning & Etymology

            Wykoff is a compound word with two constituents.  The meaning of wik in the North Germanic languages is a settlement on a bay or waterway. In Frisian, it is pronounced VIK as in victory.   It is the same word root seen in the English words Viking and Sandwich.  The meaning of -hof is a yard around a household, a church, or place of business.    

Wyckoff Pronunciation & Spelling Variations

     Variations in the spelling of the surname include Wykoff, Wyckoff, Wycoff, Wicoff, Wikoff, Wykhoff, Wykhof, Wieckhof, Wickhoff, Wijkoff, etc.  There are dozens of variations. In the original Friesian language, the first syllable was pronounced as VIC as in victory. In English, it is pronounced as WIKE and rhymes with bike, like, etc.

Last names similar to Wyckoff

Wyckofff, Wyckofffbailey, Wyckoff Jr, Wyckoffsteven, Wyckoffstevens, Wyckoffwayne, Wyckoff Wikoff, Wyckofr, Wyckoft, Wyckoif, Wyckoof, Wyckooo, Wyckoop, Wyckopp, Wyckosbury, Wyckoskas, Wyckowski, Wycks, Wycksbury, Wyckstandt

Wyckoff Family Tree

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Famous People named Wyckoff

  •     Ralph W. G. Wyckoff (1897-1994) was a pioneer of X-ray crystallography, who wrote his Ph.D. dissertation at Cornell University in 1919 under the supervision of Shoji Nishikawa.  He produced tables with positional coordinates, the forerunner of the 1935 International Tables for X-ray Crystallography. Both general and special positions are called Wyckoff positions in his honor.

 

  •     Clinton R. Wyckoff (1874-1947) was an All American football quarterback at Cornell University in 1895, but the most famous among  Wykoff athletes was Frank C. Wykoff (1909-1980), the only man who ever won 3 gold medals in 400 meter relays in 3 consecutive Olympics. He raced in world-record efforts in Amsterdam (1928), Los Angeles (1932), and Berlin (1936).  At age 18, while in Glendale High School, California, he beat the great Charlie Paddock who had been billed the "fastest human" since 1921.  In 1930, Wykoff ran the first official 9.4 secs for 100 yards in an era when no starting blocks were used; he held the world record until 1947.  Before graduating at Southern Cal in 1932, he won three IC4A, two NCAA, and two AAU dash titles.

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