Adkins Family History & Genealogy

55 photos and 30,388 biographies with the Adkins last name. Discover the family history, nationality, origin and common names of Adkins family members.
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Adkins Last Name History & Origin

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Updated Feb 10, 2020

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.
 

Name Origin

The surname "Adkins" is found to be Anglo-Saxon in origin, traced back to the early 1200's in England and later becoming a popular surname in Scotland in the mid 1400's. Adkins literally means "Son of little Adam." The Adkins surname derives from "Ade" - a nickname of sorts of the Hebrew-given name Adam, meaning "red earth" (it is thought that this refers to the earth of which God formed the first man in the Old Testament) plus the Olde English pre 7th century diminutive suffix "-kin". The "d" of "Ade" was changed to "t" in certain areas due to dialectal influences and perhaps illiteracy, and the final "s" indicated the genitive, being reduced from "son of."
The numerous variations of the surname Adkins are a result of census takers, clergy and other officials writing down the names of people who were illiterate and did not know how their own names were written, so the official would use his best judgement after listening to the person speak their name. When you realize what variations and acute accents people had in different parts of the country in those days, one can understand why so many variations arose.
Sources:
Credit given to Tim Boddington, webmaster of the site [external link] who has a fascinating and impressive collection of information regarding the Adkins surname. 
Credit should also be given to the Surname Database, to be found at [external link].  

Spellings & Pronunciations

We don't have any alternate spellings or pronunciation information on the Adkins name. Have information to share?

Nationality & Ethnicity

The country of origin for this surname is without a shadow of a doubt from England. It has been traced back to as early as the Bronze Age. The earliest evidence of any variation of Adkins is from 1191, where one Adekins was noted in the Pipe Rolls of Norfolk. A John Adekyns appears in the records for the Record of the Estates of Crowland Abbey in Cambridgeshire, dated 1296. Other variations in the patronymic development since 1327 has included John Adekynes from Warwickshire, Willelmus Adkynson in the Poll Tax Returns of Howdenshire in 1379 and Johannes Attekyson in Yorkshire in 1379. In October of 1657, George Adkins III (Son of George and Susanna Adkins) was christened at a church in London. A Robert Adkins (as noted in the Dictionary of National Biography) was chaplain to Lord Cromwell.
The first recorded spelling of the family name was that of Sir William Atkyns, dated 1327 in the "Subsidy Rolls of Worcestershire" during the reign of King Edward II. Surnames became required when governments introduced personal taxation which was known in England as Poll Tax.
According to several historical references, the earliest American Adkins genealogy is traced back to Niccodcmus Adkins who landed in Virginia (from Northumberland) in 1635. Some other settlers who share this surname (or variants thereof) include Sir Jonathon Adkins, who was Governor of Barbados and arrived in 1663, a Thomas Adkins who settled in East Hartford in 1682 and a Henry Atkins who settled in Plymouth in 1641.

Early Adkinses

These are the earliest records we have of the Adkins family.

1712 - Unknown
1816 - 1887
1817 - 1893
1827 - 1909
1835 - 1908
1842 - 1922
1853 - 1939
1857 - 1939

Adkins Family Photos

Discover Adkins family photos shared by the community. These photos contain people and places related to the Adkins last name.

Adkins Family Members

Adkins Family Tree

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Most Common First Names

Sample of 20 Adkins Biographies

Mar 9, 1902 - Dec 14, 1997
Aug 25, 1897 - January 1976
Aug 13, 1949 - March 1979
Oct 19, 1890 - January 1978
Jul 31, 1937 - November 1978
Nov 13, 1923 - April 1971
Oct 7, 1942 - Jul 20, 2007
Aug 30, 1900 - Dec 25, 1990
Sep 25, 1889 - January 1971
Jul 1, 1903 - Jan 3, 1996
Jan 11, 1929 - May 1980
Feb 20, 1922 - Mar 7, 2009
Sep 29, 1943 - Jul 3, 2011
Dec 22, 1918 - Nov 25, 1998
Jan 1, 1908 - March 1981
Aug 26, 1915 - October 1987
around 1988 - Unknown
around 1959 - Unknown
Jan 4, 1936 - Jan 22, 2006
around 1914 - Unknown

Adkins Death Records & Life Expectancy

The average age of a Adkins family member is 68.8 years old according to our database of 24,190 people with the last name Adkins that have a birth and death date listed.

Life Expectancy

68.8 years

Oldest Adkinses

These are the longest-lived members of the Adkins family on AncientFaces.

Feb 21, 1906 - Jun 27, 2011
105 years
Jul 27, 1904 - Oct 25, 2008
104 years
Aug 12, 1897 - Oct 15, 2001
104 years
Sep 14, 1901 - Feb 7, 2006
104 years
Jun 14, 1894 - Dec 11, 1998
104 years
Nov 10, 1889 - Jun 28, 1994
104 years
Jul 20, 1898 - Apr 24, 2003
104 years
Dec 22, 1881 - January 1986
104 years
Feb 2, 1891 - May 18, 1994
103 years
Feb 15, 1895 - Feb 19, 1997
102 years

Other Adkins Records

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Leave comments and ask questions related to the Adkins family.

Linda Lear
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I(Linda Adkins Lear) was told my my grandmother, Ella Fairchild Adkins to give it up and not try. That set me off on a very unsucessful quest. We have 2 family mysteries.1 How did Lenville Adkins really die?(1916-1947)Lenville and my father, Larry, along with twin brothers John and Jim moved from Morgan Co., Ky to the Fairfield(now Middletown-)area of Ohio. It seens that 2 towns were merged in the 1950s and the name changed! Lenville and Ella were expecting their 4th child, when in May of 1947, he was found in the local river. 2. stories emerged 1.He drowned and was robbed in concert with a card game???2. the one my Dad was told... he drowned trying to save someone's pet??? My Dad had overheard that his clothes were found folded under a tree...a 3rd possibility? I can find no obituary in my grandmother's things, no obit in the Morgan Co. paper(it seems that a large # of people from Morgan County migrated to this area during WW2 and the local paper carried regular obits from Ohio) Ella, late in life told a daughter in law of a red headed woman that she saw while shopping.."That woman's husband killed Lenville" Lenville had a 1/2 sister Lorene P McClain (1920-1991)I never met her. Iwas not old enough to adk his mother Rissie McClain Adkins about it.He is buried in Caskey Cemetery in morgan co., Ky. The 2nd mystery is who is Lenville's family. Who were his grandparents? Millard Adkins (1888-1916)died in lenox, Morgan Co., after a railroad tunnel had a rock slide. Noone knows who his family was. Again rissie died before I was old enough to ask. Linda contact me @[contact link]
Oct 18, 2009 · Reply

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