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Caen Castle origin of Dickinson name?

Updated: Jun 11, 2022

Caen Castle is an ancient castle in the Norman town of Caen, in Normandy, France. It was built abt. 1060 by William of Normandy (William the Conqueror), about six years before he conquered England.

Richard the Lionheart gathered here with his father, Henry II, in 1182, but in 1204, the castle was lost when Normandy was recaptured by the French. It was used as a barracks during World War II and was severely damaged when it was bombed in 1944. See what remains on Google Street Maps! Click the map to navigate. (Alternate link)

According to the book "To the descendants of Thomas Dickinson, son of Nathaniel and Anna Gull Dickinson, of Wethersfield, Connecticut, and Hadley, Massachusetts", by Frederick Dickinson, 1897 (Read), the Dickinson family derives it's name from this location. The source also references "History of Scandinavia", by Dunham, which I could not locate a copy of.

The story starts with a shepherd named Ivar. One day Ivar was captured and carried off to sea by a roving band of Norsemen. After a series of adventures, he appeared in the court of the Norse King, Halfdan Huilbein, around the year 700. The king favored Ivar and not only made him General of his army and Prince of the Uplands, but in he bestowed the hand of his daughter and heiress, Eurittea.

Ivar and Euritta had a son named Eystein, who inherited the crown when Halfdan died in 725. Ivar was regent until Eystein was old enough to rule. Eystein ruled until 755 and was succeeded by Harold Harfagr. Eystein's other son, Rogenwald, had a son named Rolf or Rollo, who was "the most adventurous prince of his age". Rollo overran Normandy in 910. He founded the line of Sovereign Dukes of Normandy and was ancestor to William the Conqueror. (*Burke's extinct peerages, p. 492). Rollo's youngest son, Walter, "received the town and castle of Caen as his inheritance". Walter de Caen, his great-grandson, accompanied William the Conqueror to England, where he lived at de Kenson Manor in Yorkshire. His name was then written Walter de Kenson.

From Walter de Caen (Walter de Kenson) part of the Dickinson genealogy is given as follows, starting with his son Johanne Dykonson, to Sarah Lane, wife of Samuel Moody, Jr. (brother of John Moody). Whether or not the Dickinson family of Sheffield is related, has yet to be proven.

  1. Johanne Dykonson, Freeholder, Kingston upon Hull, Yorkshire. Married in 1260 to Margaret Lambert. Died in 1316.

  2. William Dykenson, Freeholder, Kingston upon Hull, Yorkshire. Died in 1330-31.

  3. Hugh Dykensonne, Freeholder, Kingston upon Hull, Yorkshire. Died in 1376.

  4. Anthonye Dykensonne, Freeholder, Kingston upon Hull, Yorkshire. Married in 1376 to Catheryne De La Pole. Died in 1396.

  5. Richard Dickenson, Freeholder, Kingston upon Hull, Yorkshire. Married n 1399 to Margaret Cooper. Died in 1441.

  6. Thomas Dickinson, Freeholder, Kingston Upon Hull, Yorkshire. Married in 1430 to Margaret Lambert (a kinswoman). Alderman 1st ward Hull, 1443-44. Mayor of Hull, 1444-45. Died in 1475.

  7. Hugh Dickinson, Freeholder. Married in 1451 Agnes Swillington. Removed in 1475 to Kenson Manor, Yorkshire. Died in 1509.

  8. William Dickinson, Freeholder of Kenson Manor, Yorkshire. Married in 1475 to Isabel Langton. Died in 1546.

  9. John Dickinson, settled in Leeds, Yorkshire. Married in 1499, Elizabeth Danby. Alderman 1525-1554. Died in 1554.

  10. William Dickinson, settled at Bradley Hall, Staffordshire. Married in 1520 to Rachael Kinge. Died in 1590.

  11. Richard Dickinson, of Bradley Hall, Staffordshire. Married in 1540 to Eliza Bagnell. Died in 1605.

  12. Thomas Dickinson, Clerk, Portsmouth Navy Yard, 1567-87. Removed to Cambridge in 1587. Married in 1567 to Judith Carey. Died in 1590.

  13. William Dickinson, settled at Ely, Cambridge. Married in 1594 to Sarah Stacey of Ely. Died in 1628.

  14. Nathaniel Dickinson, born at Ely, Cambridge in 1600. Married in January 1630 to Anna Gull, widow of William Gull, at East Bergholat, Suffolk. He was at Wethersfield by 1637, where he was town clerk in 1645. Removed to Hadley in 1659 and was made freeman in 1661. Died in Hadley June 16, 1676. Children:

  • Samuel, b. July 1638, lived at Hatfield. Married Martha Bridgman of Springfield. Children: Samuel, Child, Nathaniel, Sarah, Azariah, Ebenezer, Ann, Joseph, and Hannah.

  • Obadiah b. Apr 15, 1641. Went to Canada in 1677, returning the following year. Married 1st to Sarah Beardsley and 2nd to Mehitable (Hinsdale?). Children: Sarah b. 1669, Obadiah b. 1672, Daniel b. 1674, Eliphalet, Sarah, Noadiah b. 1694, and Mehitable b. 1696.

  • Nathaniel b. Aug 1643, lived at Hatfield. Died Oct 1710. Married 1st to Hannah who d. 1679, 2nd to widow Elizabeth Gillett in 1680, and 3rd to widow Elizabeth Wright. Children: Nathaniel b. 1663, Hannah b. 1666 who m. Samuel Kellogg, John b. 1667, Mary b. 1673 who m. Nathaniel Smith, Daniel b. 1675, and Rebecca b. 1677 who m. Thomas Allen.

  • Nehemiah b abt. 1644. Died Sept 1723 at age 79. Married Mary (Cowles?). Children: Nehemiah b. 1672, William b. 1675, John b. 1676, Mary b. 1678 who m. Samuel Gaylord, John b. 1678, Sarah b. 1680 who m. Samuel Mighill, Samuel b. 1682, Hannah b. 1684 who m. Benjamin Church in 1714, Esther b. 1687, Nathaniel b. 1689, Israel b. 1691, Abigail b. 1693, Ebenezer b. 1696, and Rebecca b. 1699 who m. Jonathan Smith in 1725.

  • Hezekiah b Feb 1645, resided in Hatfield, Hadley, and Springfield, where he died in June 1707. He married Abigail Blackman of Stratford. Children: Joanna b. 1684, Jonathan b. 1688 d. 1747, Abigail b. 1690, Elizabeth b. 1693, Moses b. 1695 d. 1778, and Adam b. 1702.

  • Azariah b. Oct 4, 1648, slain in Swamp fight Aug 25, 1675.

  • Thomas, lived in Connecticut where he was a freeman in 1657 and was a first settler of Hadley. Removed to Wethersfield where he d. 1716. Married Hannah Crow. Children: Elizabeth b. 1688 m. Adams, Hanna b. 1670 m. Leffingwell, Thomas b. 1672, Esther b. 1674 m. 1st to Nathaniel Smith of Hartford

  • Joseph, lived in Connecticut as a freeman in 1657. Lived in NH from 1664-1674 and then to Northfield. Was slain in 1675 with Capt. Beers. Married Phebe Bracy. Children: Samuel b. 1666, Joseph b. 1668, Nathaniel b. 1670, John b. 1672, and Azariah b. 1674.

  • John, see below.

  • Anna, or Hannah, who m. 1st to John Clary and 2nd to Enos Kingsley.

John Dickinson b. 1630 in England. Married Frances Foote, daughter of Nathaniel Foote of Wethersfield, CT in 1648. Lived in Hadley, Mass. Hadley was settled in 1659 by a group of discontented Puritans from Hatfield and Wethersfield, Connecticut, the first settler being Nathaniel Dickinson according to Wikipedia. From p. 64 of the book below, "John Dickinson and his family removed from Wethersfield to Hadley with his father, 1659. He is said to have married at about seventeen, and to have had six children before he was twenty-seven. He was a Sergeant, and was killed at the Falls (Turner's) fight, King Philip's War, May 19, 1676. His eldest daughter, Hannah, married Samuel Gillett, of Hatfield, who was killed in the same battle. She next married, May 5, 1677, Stephen Jennings; four months afterwards she was captured by Indians and carried to Canada, getting back the next year. In 1708 her son Joseph was wounded, the husband of a daughter killed, and July 22, 1710, her second husband was killed by Indians." After John died, Frances married Francis Barnard. John's children with Frances were:

  • Hannah b. 1648 who m. Samuel Gillet in 1668 and Stephen Jennings in 1677.

  • Mary who married Samuel Northam of Hatfield, Deerfield, and Colchester, CT.

  • John, who married Susanna, daughter of Joseph Smith of Hartford, CT and removed to Connecticut.

  • Jonathan, who died before March of 1678.

  • Sarah, see below (#1)

  • Rebecca, b. abt. 1658, who married Joseph Smith in 1681 and d. 1731 at age 73.

  • Elizabeth, who died before March of 1678.

  • Abigail, who married 1st to Thomas Croft on Dec. 6, 1683, and 2nd to Samuel Crofoot on Nov. 30, 1704.

  • Mercy, b. abt. 1668, who married Joseph Chamberlain in 1688 and d. 1735 at age 67.

  • Mehitable, who married John Ingram in 1689.

  1. Sarah (Dickinson) Lane was b. 1656. Married 1st to Samuel Lane on Dec. 11, 1677, and 2nd to Martin Kellogg on Feb. 27, 1691. She d. Feb. 11, 1732. (Source)

  2. Sarah (Lane) Moody was b. 1680 in Suffield, Connecticut. She married Samuel Moody, Jr., son of Samuel Moody and Sarah Deming, and was still living in 1758. Children: Samuel, John, Nathan, Jonathan, David, Sarah who died at age 2 (1717-1719), and Sarah b. Sept. 29, 1720. (Source)



  • To the descendants of Thomas Dickinson, son of Nathaniel and Anna Gull Dickinson, of Wethersfield, Connecticut, and Hadley, Massachusetts, by Frederick Dickinson, 1897 - (Read)

  • History of Hadley, including the early history of Flatfield, South Hadley, Amherst and Granby, Massachusetts, by Judd & Boltwood, 1905 - (Read)

  • Kingsbury-Bush : American ancestry of Wayland Briggs Kingsbury, son of Joseph B. and Hannah Brown Kingsbury, of Windham Co., Vt. and Osage, Iowa, and Flora Jane Bush Kingsbury, daughter of Alva and Eliza Moore Bush of Chautauqua Co., N. Y. and Osage, Iowa, by Forrest Kingsbury, 1958 (Read)

  • Colonial History of Hartford, by Rev. William D. Love, 1914 - (Read)

  • Biographical Sketches of the Moody Family, by C. Moody, 1847 - (Read)

  • Historical Notes Concerning the Moody Family, by Herbert A. Moody, 1947 - (Read)

  • Vital Records for the Town of Hartford from NEHGR Vol. 22. p. 195 - Moody births (Read)

  • Joseph Dickinson and family: some of his ancestors and descendants, by Wm H. Maddox (Read)

Image Attribution:

L'image a été téléchargée sur / This image was downloaded from:, base de données photos libre de droits du Conseil régional de Basse-Normandie / Database of rights-free photographs of the Conseil régional Basse-Normandie (Lower Normandy Regional Council).

Mention requise / Required mention: "Conseil Régional de Basse-Normandie / Archives nationales du Canada".


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