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Richards Surname Name Meaning, Origin, History, & EtymologyThis popular Celtic Welsh or Cornish last name is a patronymic or baptismal surname deriving from the personal (first) name Richard. It originally was an English surname that came there from mainland Europe during and after the Norman Conquest of 1066 AD. In England, the family first established itself in Yorkshire where they held seat (land and titles) at Hatfield as Lords of the Manor of Ricard (or Rycard. There was also a small branch of the family tree that loved on the Isle of Wight. It was thought to be an ancient Germanic name that predates the 600s AD. It derives from the words ric and hard, literally meaning or translating to “powerful ruler”, a name apt to spread across medieval Europe, Christendom, and the Holy Roman Empire in the Middle Ages, almost certainly popularized by King Richard I of England, the most legendary Crusader of his day (known as Couer de Leon).

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Spelling VariationsSome spelling variants or names with similar etymologies include Richard (English), Ritchard, Ricard (French), Rickard, Rickards, Richardson, Richardt, and Rickaert (Flemish).

Popularity & Geographic DistributionThe last name Richards ranks 215th in popularity in the United Status as of the 2000 Census. The name ranks particularly high in the following three states: Maine, Utah, and West Virginia.

The surname Richards frequency/commonness ranks as follows in the British Isles: England (72nd), Scotland (339th), Wales (20th), Ireland (1,169th) and Northern Ireland (795th). In England, it ranks highest in county Cornwall. In Scotland, the surname ranks highest in Peeblesshire. In Wales, it ranks highest in counties Glamorganshire and Carmarthenshire. In Ireland, it ranks highest in county Wexford. In Northern Ireland, it ranks highest in county Down.

The name is also present throughout the remainder English speaking world: Canada (58th), New Zealand (3,164th), Australia (2,289th), and South Africa (2,109th). Henry Brougham Guppy’s 1890 book Homes of Family Names in Great Britain states the following in regard to this last name: “Not found in the north of England beyond Notts, and also rare or absent in the east coast counties, in both of which regions its place is supplied by Richardson. Thus restricted, it is mostly crowded into the western half of England, and is very common also in Wales. Its great centres are in Cornwall, Wales, and Monmouthshire.”

Early Bearers of the SurnameSome of the earliest documented bearers were Nicol Richard (Basle, Switzerand in 1260 AD), Richardus Richardi (Pfullingen, Germany, in 1273 AD), Thomas Richard (Oxfordshire, England in 1276 AD), and Thomas Richardes (Worcester, England in 1327 AD).

George Fraser Black’s book, The Surnames of Scotland, also provides some early instances including:a) Thome filius Ricardi had a charter of the barony of Symundestone in the sheriffdom of Lanark from Robert I, circa 1315-1321 AD.b) Laurence filius Ricerdi was a tenant of the earl of Douglas in Louchurde in 1376 ADc) In 1359 Murdac Richardesson, Scottish merchant, and others, complained that their vessel was captured and sunk by the English during a truce

For DNA results of the Richards family, you can visit this page.

Richards Family Tree & Richards GenealogyThe following is a discussion of six different noble, royal, landed, or aristocratic families bearing this last name.


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Solsborough Housecredit: buildingsofireland.ie

Richards of SolsboroughThe ancestors of this branch of the Richards family had established itself in counties Kent and South Hampton around the end of the 1400s AD. John Richards lived at Subinton, county Southampton during the reign of King James I and married Constance, daughter of Ralph Fawkner and Margaret Disney, and had the following issue with her: John, Thomas, Solomon, and Henry. His son Solomon Richards was an Esquire who married Anne, daughter of John Curle of Brixton in the Isle of Wight, and had the following children with her: Solomon, John, Eleanor, Anne, and Elizabeth. He was succeeded by his eldest son, also named Solomon. This Solomon was an Esquire of Solsborough, county Wexford, as well as a Colonel of the 17th Regiment. He married Rhoda, daughter of Samuel Wilson of London, and had a daughter with her named Rhoda who married William Mercer in 1674. He secondly married Abigail, daughter of Henry Goddard of Deptford and Chatham, and had issue with her, including: 1) Solomon, 2) John, 3) Goddard, and 4) Michael (Captain in his father’s regiment, Brigadier-General in the army). He was succeeded by Goddard Richards, an Esquire of Solsborough, who was born in 1661. In 1684, he married Dorothea, daughter of William Jacob of Sigginstown, and had four sons with her: John, Jacob, Goddard, and Jonathan. He was succeeded by his son John. This John Richards was an Esquire of Solsborough and High Sheriff in 1728. He married Katherine, daughter of Reverend William Burtenwood, Rector of Edermine, and had the following issue with her: Solomon, Goddard (ancestor of the Richards of Grange), Edward (of Enniscorthy, married Judith Bowers, had daughter named Katherine who married Arthur Thomas), John (of Askinvillar), and Elizabeth (married William Stephens of Ferns). He died in 1749 and was succeeded by his eldest son Solomon. This Solomon Richards was an Esquire of Solsborough and High Sheriff of Wexford in 1753. He married Francis, daughter of Urban Vigors of Ballyconnick, and had children with him as follows: Solomon (his heir), William (married Louisa, daughter of Colonel George Rawson of Belmont, had sons named William Vigors and George Rawson), Edward, Frances (married Matthew De Rinzy of Clobeman, county Wexford), and Katherine (in 1781, married Nicholas Aylward Vigors of Old Leighlin). He was succeeded by his son Solomon. This Solomon was born in 1765 and was High Sheriff. In 1784, he married Martha, daughter of Francis Gorman of Ballynahessan, county Meath, Ireland, and had the following children with her: 1) Solomon (his heir), 2) Bartholomew Vigors, 3) Captain Edward of the Royal Navy (married Mary Anne, daughter of Rev. Walter Blake Kirwan, and had issue named Captain Edwin, Captain Frederick William, Solomon, Urban Vigors, Julia, Maude, Sophia, Louisa, Anne Vigors, and Frances), 4) William Gorman, 5) Francis, 6) Sophia (married Mathew O’Brien of Newcastle), 7) Francis (married Reverend John Howard Gorges), 8) Martha (married Reverend Henry Barnes), and 9) Katherine (married Reverend Richard Fayle). He later married Martha, daughter of Colonel George Rawson of Belmont, and had two more issue: George Rawson and Maria. He died in 1822 and was succeeded by his oldest son, Solomon. This Solomon Richards was an Esquire of Solsborough was born in 1787 and was a High Sheriff in 1818. He later entered holy orders and became Rector of Clone, county Wexford, Ireland. In 1814, he married Elizabeth, daughter of Colonel Thomas Bermingham Daly Henry Sewell of Athenry and Harriett Beresford, and had the following children with you: Solomon, William Beresford (County Inspector Royal Irish Constabulary), Lieutenant John (Esquire of New Ross, had issue named Alfred Beresford, Roland, and William James Napper), Harriet (married Richard Howard Gorges), Bessie (married William Donowvan of Tomnalossett), Isabella, and Louisa Martha (married Richard Archibald Gorges, Captain of the Royal Marine Artillery). He died in 1866 and was succeeded by his eldest son Solomon. Solomon Richards was an Esquire of Solsborough, county Wexford, as well as a Justice of the Peace and a Colonel in the Army who was born in 1817. He is the senior co-heir of Lady Elizabeth Bermingham, eldest daughter and senior co-heir of Thomas, 22nd Lord Athenry and Earl of Louth. The Richards Coat of Arms is blazoned in the medieval European art of heraldry as follows: Sable, a chevron between three fleurs-de-lis argent. Crest: A griffin’s head erased argent. Motto: Honore et amore. They were seated at Solsborough, Enniscorthy, county Wexford.


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Grange House, Wexford – erected by Goddard Richards (1717-1795)credit: buildingsofireland.ie

Richards of GrangeThe lineage or pedigree of this branch of the Richards family tree begins with Goddard Richards, an Esquire of Grange who was born in 1715, the son of John Richards of Solsborough, and was bequeathed Grange and other estates in county Wexford by John. In 1756, he married Anne, daughter of Nicholas Hewetson, and had the following issue with her: 1) John (his successor), 2) Solomon (ancestor of the Richards of Ardamine), 3) Goddard (of Bath, born 1764, married Anne Houghton, had issue named Goddard Henry, Reverend William, Mary Anne, Elizabeth, Ellen, Maria, Charlotte, Virginia and Julia), 4) William, 5) Nicholas, 6) Edward (served in the 55th Regiment), 7) Robert Heweston (married Matilda Garnett of Green Hills, had issue named William Henry, Major-General Robert, Annie Matilda, and Mary Anne), 8) Henry, 9) Anne (married Richard Donovan of Ballymore), 10) Sarah (married Richard William Tighe of Wicklow), 11) Katherine Jane (married Revered Robert Alexander of New Ross), 12) Elizabeth (married Richard Colles), 13), Elizabeth (married Richard Colles), 14) Wilhelmina (married Reverend Walter Blake Kirwan), and 15) Letitia. He died in 1795 and was succeeded by his eldest son, John. This son was Reverend John Richards of the Grange, who was born in 1757. In 1796, he married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Joshua Paul, the 1st Baronet of Paulville, and had the following children with her: Goddard Hewetson (his successor), Sarah Elizabeth, Anne Dorothea, Elizabeth (married Cope Garnett of Rhos-y-gar), Katherine Wilhelmina, Dorothea Elizabeth, and Ellen Susan Gertrude (married John Herbert Opren of Stephen’s Green). He died in 1827 and was succeeded by his only son Goddard. Goddard Hewetson Richards was an Esquire of Grange and Pembroke Street, Dublin, as well as a Barrister-at-Law, who was born in 1798. In 1823, he married Dorothea, daughter of Edward Moore, Esquire of Mooresfort, county Tipperary, with whom he had the following children: John Francis (Justice of the Peace) and Edward Moore. Edward Richards Moore was an Esquire of Grange born in county Wexford in 1826. He succeeded his brother in 1860. He married Sarah Elizabeth, daughter of William Tisdall of Virginia, US, with whom he had three children: John Evelyn, Adela Elizabeth, and Dora. The Richards Coat of Arms is blazoned in heraldry as follows: Same as Richards of Solsborough, with a crescent for difference. They were seated at Grange, near Killanne, county Wexford, Ireland.

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Richards of ArdamineThe Richards genealogy of this branch begins with Solomon Richards, an Esquire of York Street, Dublin, the son of Goddard Richards of the Grange, and grandson of John Richards Solsborough. He was a well-known surgeon and was a member of the Royal Irish Academy and Royal Dublin Society. He procured the estate of Roebuck in Dublin from Lord Trimleston, Ardamine in Wexford from Baronet Sir Thomas Roberts, and other lands from Abel Ram, Esq. He married Elizabeth, daughter of Reverend Edward Groome, with whom he had the following children: 1) John Goddard (his successor), 2) Reverend Edward (Rector of Clonallon, married Emily Saurin, had issue named Edward, James Saurin, Reverend Lewis, Henry Goddard, William Saurin, Charles Frederick, and Anne Catherine), 3) Solomon (of Ounavarra, Justice of the Peace, married Katherine Wynne and later Florence Moore), 4) Elizabeth, and Mary Anne (married Reverend Henry Wynne, Rector of Ardcolm). He died in 1819 and was succeeded by his eldest son, John. John Goddard Richards was an Esquire of Ardamine and Roebuck, as well as a Barrister-at-Law, Justice of the Peace, Deputy Lieutenant, and High Sheriff who was born in 1794. In 1821, he married Anne Catherine, daughter of Robert Ward, with whom he had the following issue: 1) Solomon Augustus (his heir), 2) Reverend Robert Edward (Principal of Gloucester and Bristol Training College), 3) William Hamilton (Lieutenant Colonel 55th Regiment, married Margaret Isabella Lawrence, had children named Hamiltom MacDonald, Charles de Clare, and John Goddard), 4) Louisa Elizabeth (married George Maconchy of Rathmore), 5) Mary Anne (married Samuel Johnson of Janeville), and 6) Emily Sophia (married Reverend Philip Walter Doyne, Vicar of Monart). He died in 1846 and was succeeded by his eldest son, Solomon. His Solomon August was an Esquire of Ardamine and Roebuck, Justice of the Peace, High Sheriff, and Captain of the Wexford Militia who was born in 1828. In 1856, he married Sophia Mordaunt, daughter of Reverend Bernard John Ward, and had three issue with her: Bernard John Goddard, Arthur William Mordaunt, and Francis Augustus. Bernard John Goddard Richards was an Esquire of Ardamine, county Wexford, and Roebuck, county Dublin, as well as a Lieutenant Wexford Militia and Justice of the Peace, who was born in 1857. The family crest was the same as Richards of Solsborough, with a mullet for difference. They were seated at Ardamine, Gorey, county Wexford, and Roebuck House, Donnybrook, county Dublin, in Ireland.