Archive for June, 2008

Why is my name Usticke?

Friday, June 6th, 2008

Before my father passed away, he spent the last few years of his life researching our family history. I recently loaded his genealogy data into the family tree site and have been expanding it with other branches of our family.

Looking at my father’s research, it raises some interesting questions about the Usticke name (pronounced you-stick).

Why is my name Usticke? Well, that’s easy. It’s because that’s my father’s name: Gordon William Usticke.

Why is my father’s name Usticke? His father was an Englishman named Gordon Wright Nowell-Usticke. What happened to Nowell? To quote my father, “In the USA, I have used Usticke rather than Nowell-Usticke as we don’t go in for hyphenated names.”

So, let’s go back a bit further.

Me: Alexander Earl Usticke (1970 – )
My parents: Gordon William Usticke (1935 – 2003) & Phyllis Ann Libman (1935 – )
His parents: Gordon Wright Nowell-Usticke (1894 – 1978) & Eunice Gertrude Forsythe (1914 – 1983)
His parents: William Gordon Stapylton Nowell-Usticke (1866 – 1938) & Elizabeth Wright
His parents: Stephen Usticke Nowell-Usticke (circa 1818 – circa 1875) & Lucy Eliza Marianne Bree (? – 1921)
His parents: Theophilus Samuel Beauchant (1787 – circa 1849) & Georgiana Ann Usticke Allen (1791 – circa 1875)

Wait, what happened there?

Stephen Usticke Nowell-Usticke’s father was a Beauchant as was his grandfather (Theophile Beauchant) and great-grandfather (Samuel Beauchant). Why is my name Usticke and not Beauchant?

Why did Stephen Usticke Nowell-Usticke take his mother’s middle name, and where did Nowell come from?

Well, let’s look at his mother’s family.

Georgina Allen’s parents: George Allen (? – circa 1791) & Anne Usticke (circa 1763 – 1805)
Her parents: William Ustick (circa 1730 – ?) & Philippa Nowell

Stephen Usticke Nowell-Usticke was actually born Stephen Usticke Beauchant around 1818. His maternal grandmother, Anne Usticke, was the product of two English families: Nowell and Usticke (sometimes spelled Ustick and, going back to the 16th century and prior, spelled Ustwicke). Anne had six sisters but only two brothers, Stephen Usticke (circa 1752 – circa 1823) and Robert Michael Usticke (1771 – circa 1851). Apparently, neither brother had children.

William Ustick and Philippa Nowell’s youngest son, Robert Michael Usticke, used both his parent’s surnames; and, when he died childless in 1851, left the names and his armorial bearings (coat of arms) to his sister’s grandson (his grandnephew). So, Stephen Usticke Beauchant became Stephen Usticke Nowell-Usticke.

And here’s the evidence of that transaction from page 192 of the book Bulletins and Other State Intelligence for the Year 1852 by Francis Watts, published by Harrison and Sons, London, 1853.

Bulletins and Other State Intelligence for the Year 1852 by Francis Watts, published by Harrison and Sons, London, 1853
Whitehall, February 28, 1852. The Queen has been pleased to grant unto Stephen Usticke Beauchant, of Falmouth, in the county of Cornwall, Esq. Her royal licence and authority that, in compliance with a proviso in the last will and testament of the Reverend Robert Michael Nowell Usticke (his deceased great uncle), he may take and bear the surnames of Nowell Usticke only, and also bear the arms of Nowell and Usticke quartered with those of his own family, and that such surnames and arms may in like manner be taken and borne by his issue; such arms being first duly exemplified according to the laws of arms, and recorded in the Herald's office, otherwise the said licence and permission to be void and of none effect: And to command that the said royal concession and declaration be recorded in Her Majesty's College of Arms.

The Nowell-Usticke coat of arms is noteworthy, because it includes three crests, which results from the combinations of three families: Nowell (left: arm grasping a sword between antlers), Usticke (center: red demi-eagle) and Beauchant (right: green martlet holding in its beak an acorn in front of rays of the sun).

So, why am I named Usticke? Because my great great grandfather inherited his name from his granduncle (my great great great great granduncle), and it’s come down father and son to me (minus a hyphenated Nowell).


[Edited 8 Jun 2008 with corrections and clarifications.]