Origin and meaning of the name EDKINS

According to P H Reaney & R M Wilson, Dictionary of English Surnames:
EDKINS - Edekin a diminutive of Eda. v.EAD.
EAD - Eda, always feminine, is rather a pet form of Edith (Éadgýð) than a survival of OE Éda.
The earliest cited forms of the name are EDEKIN (1279, Oxfordshire) and EDKYNES (1327, Somerset) - the latter form appears in 1561 at the head of the Aston Cantlow Chart.

So we are asserting that the name is formed Eda-kin-s where the the final 's' is either a genitive ending or just intrusive, the -kin means 'little' and Eda is itself a familiar form of an old form of 'Edith'.

This is on the same pattern as Simkins (from Simon), Perkins (Peter), Watkins (Walter), Jenkins (John) and many others (up to 100 are known), although most of the others derive from masculine forenames. Indeed Reaney & Wilson cite Edde as a pet form of Edward or Edwin (Edwine qui et Eda dictus est) - clearly a masculine form, and Eddy of Edwy, and IMHO it is difficult to rule out the possibility that Edekin may sometimes have been a diminutive of one of these masculine names.

Many historical Edkins records, including the ancestors of some American & Australian families, come from the area shown below, near Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire.
Nothwithstanding this quibble, EDKINS is clearly an etymologically distinct name from ADKINS and ATKINS, which are derived from Adam. Reality is not etymology however, and there are certainly isolated cases recorded as Edkin(s) which should properly be Atkin(s), and indeed vice versa (Genealogists working from transcripts should also check for entries wrongly read as Eakins or Elkins). The EDKIN families of Cumberland and Lancashire (which latter have many descendants in the USA) have no known connection with the Warwickshire EDKINS and it must remain a possibility that they were originally ATKIN or AITKEN.

© Keith Edkins 1999. | Back to Edkins Surname Resource Centre