Scope of research

The purpose of this website is to provide a permanent record of all that we know – or think that we know – about the Micklethwait family ancestors.

The site is updated from time to time to include births, deaths and marriages as well as new information that has been uncovered.

We hope this will be of interest to future generations, and that they will keep the site up to date over the coming centuries.

Source information

Sources include: old family records, official publications, wills, deeds, census records, parish registers, as well as birth, marriage and death certificates, 1379 Poll Tax records, 1672 Hearth Tax records, Coats of Arms records and numerous publications.

Existing members of the family, several local historians, staff from Local Authority Record Offices and from other eminent libraries have all helped by providing relevant information.

DNA testing has been used to establish a Viking root and to establish a connection between the oldest UK branch and the USA branch. The research is on-going. 

There are quite a lot of publications that give information about this family. However, they quite often conflict with the original source documents, and in this case, the source documents were used.

Very old records can never be relied upon to be absolutely accurate, so it is possible that this website will contain some information that will at a later date be found to be inaccurate. More information will no doubt arise in the future as the research continues.

The original source documents used to compile this website have been lodged at the North Yorkshire County Records Office.


In the past the family name was spelt in many different ways including amongst others Muclewaite, Micklethwait, Micklethwayt, Micklethwaite, Muclethwait, Muclethwaite, Muclethwayte and Meiklethwaite. Note: these changes in spelling frequently occurred – even between father and son.

Scribes recorded and spelled the name as it sounded. Typically a person could be born with one spelling, married with a second, and buried with a headstone showing another. All three spellings related to the same person.

By the time of the 1901 British census, the name is generally being spelled in the UK in one of two ways: either Micklethwait or Micklethwaite. It lists 75 Micklethwaits ending without an ‘e’ and 547 with an ‘e’!

In the USA, one part of the family spell their name Micklethwait; whereas, the other part spell it Mickelwait. The latter spelling came about when one Willoughby Micklethwaite JM636 first purchased land in Illinois. The deed bore the name spelled Mickelwait; and from that time forth, everyone born to this line has had the last name spelled Mickelwait.

Apparently, this happened a lot to people when they emigrated to the US. On arrival, their names were spelled as they were heard, and unless the person involved corrected the error, it was left that way.

My ancestors removed the ‘e’ from the end of the last name at some time in the past; it seems to have largely disappeared around 1700. There are various stories about why they did this. The most likely is that they simply wished to differentiate themselves from the many other families with the same family name.

Whilst researching our family history, the focus has been on those without a final ‘e’. However, because of spelling mistakes even today, those with an ‘e’ cannot be ignored just in case they are one of us – but wrongly spelled.

Micklethwaites – the name, the places, the branches

Andy Micklethwaite has a website, Micklethwaites – the name, the places, the branches, that focuses on branches not related to this site. Many of the families on his site have an ‘e’ on the end of their last name.