Last name: Petty

This interesting name is of early medieval English and Scottish origin, and derives from the medieval Anglo-Norman French term "petit", small, a word of obscure and isolated origin, thought to be a "nursery word". It was used as a nickname for a small person, as in the recording of Walter le Petiit, in the Wiltshire Assize Rolls of 1249, and also to distinguish the younger of two bearers of the same given name. The term was also used as an element in medieval surnames developed from personal and occupational - or nick - names, as in Walter Petitclark (1304, Gloucestershire); John Petijohan (1327, Sussex); and John le Petit Smyth (1351, Essex). The surname from "petit" is first recorded in England in the late 12th Century, as below, and can be found in forms ranging from Petty and Pettie to Pe(t)it, Petyt, Pettitt and Pittet. In Scotland, one Fergus de Pety in the parish of Fyvy was excommunicated in 1382, and Master Duncan Petit or Petyt was archdeacon of Glasgow in 1395. The marriage of John Petty and Margaret Rogers was recorded at St. Dunstan's in the East, London, on June 22nd 1568. A Coat of Arms granted to the Pettys of Warwickshire depicts, on a shield divided quarterly gold and blue, on a green bend three gold martlets. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Petie, which was dated 1198, in the "Feet of Fines of Nottinghamshire", during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "Richard The Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

© Copyright: Name Origin Research 1980 - 2015

Want to dig deeper into your family history? Take a look at our page on building a Family Tree. Or get scientific and enter the exciting world of Ancestral DNA!

Surname Scroll

Enjoy this name printed onto our colourful scroll, printed in Olde English script. An ideal gift. View Details.
PayPal Acceptance Mark
Surname Scroll

Anthony Petty
I've only been able to track my family Petty line to around 1810 Tennessee. Unfortunately the 1810 census was lost due to the war of 1812. I know my family would have been from Tennessee prior to it being a State in 1796 (North Carolina prior to statehood). Samuel Petty would have been born around 1810 in Tennessee. They moved to Indiana sometime between 1840 and 1850. As to the question of Civil War involvement only Samuel's eldest son Samuel S Petty would have been of age(in early 20's) during the civil war. Not sure if Samuel himself was involved as he would have been in his late 40's to early 50's during the war. I can't find any military record for Samuel S Petty in Indiana. I know their profession is listed as blacksmith.

Kristen Petty
Our family tree, in recorded history, goes back to 686 A.D. to one of the English kings.

James R Petty, Jr
Where in Tennessee? My Petty clan was from Sardis, Tenn during the Civil War. JP

kevin johnson

my maternal grandmother was Lela Petty married Hobert Beacham, from that area closer to Center Hill. we used to have a reunion at Sycamore lake when i was a kid (now late forties). An older friend of the family just mentioned last week that to brothers came from N Carolina and were Irish, and thats where our side came from

I also have ancestors in Indiana. The earliest I can find them on a census is 1860. Your Samuel and my Jackson petty would have been close in age, and both from Tennessee. I wonder if they might have been related? Jackson and his wife Jemima lived in Clay county in 1860. Samuel Petty moved with his family to Iowa sometime after 1850 I believe. He died there in 1872. If you have any more information on the Petty family in Pake,Vigo,Putnam, or Clay counties in Indiana I'd love to hear from you!

Kimberley Martinez (Petty)
I've tracked my Petty family back to the 1400's. There were in Norwich, Norfolk, England and went by the name Pettus. The name changed to Petty when Thomas Pettus Petty immigrated to Virginia. He was a son of Sir. William Pettus. There seems to be more than one track of Petty's but this is where my direct line came from.

Ron Petty
I am from the same bloodline as you!

Ivy Petty
I have to do a report on my name for school... can't find anything!

Anthony Petty
Love to help Ivy, but not sure how. The above description fits in with what I had learned about it. My ancestors were from Southern England Portsmouth, Hampshire) but I believe there were many other areas where there were/are Pettys. Try researching Sir William Petty and you will find out some information about a famous Petty in history, and you can also find his Coat of Arms. In America of course there is Richard Petty (NASCAR) and Tom Petty (singer). Don't know if any of this helps, but good luck with the school project. We are just starting our school year in New Zealand this week.

Britani Johnson (Petty)
I am amazed to see all these Pettys! I live on the west coast and never find anyone with my maiden name all of them are on the east coast.

Misty Petty

I am from the South and have faced similar circumstances!