Vick


Select Vick Surname Genealogy

There are English origins and German origins for the surname Vick.

English.  Vick is a localized English surname, coming initially from Gloucestershire.   Its English origins are obscure.  It could be a nickname, from the Norman French l'eveske, meaning "the bishop," from which came the names Levesque and Levick; or it could come from a place-name Vic in southern France; or it could come from the Old English wic, meaning "settlement," which became a surname Wyk and then somehow Vick.  None of these explanations is very satisfactory. 

German.  Vick is also a localized German surname, coming initially from north Germany on the border with Denmark and in the area between Hamburg and Schwerin.   Its root here seems to have been the German personal name Friedrich.  Friedrich became in pet form Fick and Vick in some areas.  

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England.  The Vick name may have started with one or a few families in Gloucestershire.  Ricard Vicke left a will dated 1565 in Kings Stanley.  Thomas Veke lived in Randwick near Stroud and he died and was buried there in 1574.  His son was James Vyke, mason to Sir Raplh Dutton, and Elizabeth Vick was recorded as James's widow in 1642.  Their descendants remained in Randwick through the 17th and 18th centuries.

There were other Vicks in Gloucestershire by the 18th century.  At Elmore church near Stroud there are family monuments to Silvanus Vick who died there in 1776 and his son Daniel who died in 1810.  On his death in 1754 William Vick, a Bristol wine merchant, left money to fund the construction of a bridge across the Avon Gorge.  This eventually became the Clifton suspension bridge.

By the time of the 1841 census, more than half of the Vicks in England were to be found in Gloucestershire:
  • Gloucestershire, 53%
  • Hampshire, 18%
  • Sussex, 14%
  • and elsewhere, 15%
One family lineage has been traced from James Vick, born in Portsmouth around 1785, and another from Charles Vick, born in Chichester in Sussex in 1826.

Isle of Man.  There were also Vicks on the Isle of Man.  These seemed to have been the descendants of Johann Ficke from Germany who arrived there in the late 1700's.  Ficke became Fick and then Vick at Malew about 1820.

America.  The English immigrant Joseph Vick was the progenitor of many of the Vicks in America.  He was a planter in Virginia who had arrived there around 1670.  The book Joseph Vick of Lower Parish, Isle of Wight County, Virginia edited by John Beatty and Di Ann Vick described the first five generations of this family.

One line of descent passed through Shadrach Vick who fought in the Revolutionary War and then left Virginia for Livingston county, Kentucky in the early 1800's (his son John Leonidas Vick wrote a history of this line in 1895).  Other Vicks were to be found in North Carolina.  Dr. Joshua Vick of Greensboro, North Carolina gave his name to Vick's VapoRub, the medicine which made its name during the flu epidemic of 1918.  Edmund Vick left North Carolina for Alabama and Texas in the 1860's and 70's.

Newit Vick, a planter and Methodist minister from Virginia, had obtained title to the lands of the Walnut Hills in Mississippi about 1811 with the intention of founding a town there.  But he died in 1819 before he had time to implement his plan.  The town did materialize in 1825 and was named Vicksburg.  The house of Newit's daughter Martha, built in 1830, still stands in the town.  Henry Vick, his grandson, died in a duel in 1859, just before his wedding day.

There was another English Vick who came to America.  James Vick had arrived with his parents from Portsmouth in 1833.  He founded the Vick Seed Company in Rochester, New York.  He was to be one of the most successful horticultural seedsmen, writers, and merchandisers of his day.

German Vicks.  But the largest number of Vicks came from Germany.  They included:
  • Hans Peter Vick from Holstein in German-speaking Denmark.  He arrived in Minnesota in 1869.  He taught dancing lessons in Minneapolis where he met his wife.  They settled in Richland, North Dakota in the 1880's.
  • Peter Christian Vick from Godenstorf near Hamburg who came to Dickinson, Iowa in the 1870's.
  • and Heinrich Vick from Mecklenberg who came to Michigan also in the 1870's.
Some immigrants from other places changed their names to Vick.  Jonas Vik from Norway became Vick in the 1880 Minnesota census and Jan Nepomuk Vich from the present-day Czech Republic became John Vick in the Wisconsin 1910 census.

Select Vick Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for further stories and accounts:


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Dr. Joshua Vick from North Carolina gave his name to Vick's VapoRub, the medicine which made its name during the flu epidemic of 1918.
Michael Vick is a star American football quarterback who has controversially spent time in prison for his involvement in an illegal dog fighting ring.

Select Vicks Today
  • 1,000 in the UK (most numerous in Gloucestershire)
  • 5,000 in America (most numerous in North Carolina) 
  • 1,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)



PS.  You might want to check out the surnames page on this website.  It covers surname genealogy in this and companion websites for more than 800 surnames.

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