Forum : Origins of the name Frostick

The origins of the Frostick name and itīs variants - an article by Alan S.C. Frostick, January 2003

It seems likely that the name " Frostick " manifested itself in the East of England either in Saxon or Viking times. Until early generations can be documented it is not possible to prove or disprove the commonly encountered speculation that the name Frostick was originally Norse, Dane, German, Dutch or even Flemish. There remain hundreds of living individuals in the U.K. with the name of Frostick, Frostic or Frostwick, mainly in Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Kent. These are the original Saxon, and later Viking (Danelaw), strongholds.

"Frostwick" and "Frostic" are confirmed alternative spellings for Frostick. Frostwick is encountered in Norfolk county records in the U.K. and is also to be found in the data we have from the U.S.A. Interchange of these names through the generations has been firmly established in the 18th and 19th centuries: e.g. Father FROSTWICK, Son FROSTICK, Grandson FROSTIC, Great-Grandson FROSTICK etc.

Why this occured is not known, but can probably be ascribed to illiteracy or mistakes on the part of a scribes and registration clerks.

The other variants are thought likely to be associated with the name Frostick too, they are given regularly as alternatives on genealogy search engines, and commonly included in "SOUNDEX" genealogy searches - although I have no data on persons from these families at present. If you are reading this and belong to one of those families, please make contact to help me establish the link between these names.

A personal note
My reasons for living in Germany were largely accidental, it was originally a love story and does not indicate there is a thriving Frostick family in Germany! In fact I did a scan of the German telephone book on first arriving in Germany and not one Frostick appeared there (apart from me). However, several aspects of the name Frostick became clear to me as I became increasingly proficient in German. The German word "frostig", which in English is the adjective "frosty", is pronounced in German almost exactly as Frostick is in English. The final "G" is pronounced as a "K" in German words which end in this way. Incidentally, this gives rise to some amusement in Germany when I give my name. They hear it as "Mr. Frosty" and unless I correct them will invariably spell it as "Frostig". There are families in Germany (and probably Scandinavia) who do have the name "Frostig" and I will investigate this possibility further.

Alan Frostick January 2003

Fragment extracted from email by: Raymond Frostick, Norfolk UK
Sent to: Chuck Frostick
Date: Tue, 7 Jan 2003
Subject: The names Frostic, Frostick, Frosdick and Frostwick

From the late 15th century Frostick appears in Norfolk in various forms, but during the 17th century there seems to have developed a distinction between Frosdick with a D and Frostick with a T. Both are still found in Norfolk, the D now being more common than the T.

As for the Ts, I can trace my own family directly back to about 1700, and similarly with another T family; they are both found in nearby villages in North Norfolk.

While there could obviously be a link at some point with Wood Dalling, this would have to be in the 17th century or earlier, when records are much more difficult to trace. The Wood Dalling family were, as far as I know, the only ones to adopt the Frostwick form. Frostick and Frostwick both appear within the same family. ed: as well as the name Frostic

Initially I think this was merely a misspelling at the time of births and deaths - the early members could not write their own names.

Raymond Frostick January 2003

Document forwarded by: Raymond Frostick, Norwich, Norfolk UK

I am a native of Norfolk, 72, a solicitor now retired from active legal practice. Over the years I have been associated with many local and national organisations, and I retired last year as Pro-Chancellor of the University of East Anglia. I still have various university, commercial, and many personal commitments. I have for many years been interested in the Frostick name, with particular reference to my own family in Norfolk, and have from time to time assembled a substantial amount of detailed information. I have had correspondence with Frosticks and Frosdicks in various parts of the world, and I have visited and have been visited by Frosticks in Australia and New Zealand, some but not all directly related.

My notes come from correspondence, wills, census returns, parish registers, etc., and I have listed all the Frostick entries in the Registers of Births Deaths and Marriages from 1837 to about 1920. I have also notes of Frosdicks, Frosdykes and Forsdicks for a number of years from 1837 onwards. I started well before the internet was thought of, and have not tried to computerise the information. It has been my intention to put the details into more understandable and usable form, with annotations showing addresses, occupations, and the source of the information. I have full details of my immediate family back to about 1700, and my intention is to concentrate on the Norfolk families, and the earliest records of the name. Further research on the early years is still needed, and I then plan to write up the early records for 'The Norfolk Ancestor', the Journal of the Norfolk Family History Society. Much as I would like to do this I am really not yet in a position to give the necessary time to the writing and the research. A particular reason for this arises out of an interest in early maps and plans; I have written a number of articles, have just published a book on 'The Printed Plans of Norwich 1558-1840', and have just started to write a companion volume on Norfolk Maps. Genealogy will have to in the meantime take second place.

I am particularly interested in the early use of the name. The first record I have found with a 't' in the name is 'Frostdick', in the parish of Great Hautbois, Norfolk, in 1577. The name Frostick with its modern spelling is found in Catfield, Norfolk, in 1625, and it appears that during the 17th century the differentiation between 't' and 'd' became established. Early spelling is however notoriously uncertain, and the earliest records of the name which I have found are from Wymondham, Norfolk, from the late 15th century. The first is of Henry Frosdik in 1493/4, referred to in the minutes of a later manorial court. He was probably the father or brother of James Frosdyke whose son William Frosdyke (Frosdik) owned land in the Wymondham area and who died in 1518. Members of the family are frequently referred to in certain Wymondham Guild records. William's will includes references amongst others to his brother Robert, a priest, who as Frosdick or Frosdike became rector of Tacolneston, near Wymondham, in 1540. Curiously this family also used an alternative name, Poynter, which eventually took over. I have found no explanation, but alternative names were not that unusual at this period.

The origin of the name remains uncertain, although the consensus of written books on Surnames is that it is geographical. These include:

  • The Oxford Dictionary of Surnames: under Fosdyke, from a place name in Lincolnshire, with variants including Frosdick (Norfolk), but no mention of Frostick. (No connection has been traced between Frostick or Frosdick and Fosdyke in Lincolnshire.)
  • A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames by C.W Bardsley : Frisdick, Frostick, more specific, that the name is local 'of Frosdyke', some spot apparently in co. Norfolk, and that 'the variant Frostick is curious'.
  • The Origins of English Surnames by P.H.Reaney : no reference.
  • A Dictionary of British Surnames by P.H.Reaney : Fosdike etc. from Fosdike in Lincolnshire, but no reference to Frostick or Frosdick.
  • Norfolk and Suffolk Surnames in the Middle Ages by R. McKinley: significantly no reference, not conclusive, but a strong indication that the name is only found at the end of the medieval period.

While there must be a strong possibility of a local geographical origin, in the absence of any identified location, one cannot exclude the possibility that the first element is a personal name, or wonder if, however unlikely, the name could have been introduced from abroad. The name might suggest the Netherlands, but I have worked in the Netherlands, and the name does not appear to be recognized there. My present conclusion therefore is that the name first appeared in Norfolk in the 15th century; although I am familiar with mediaeval documentation relating to the county I have so far not been able to trace any earlier references.

What is clear is that, in whatever form, it is an early East Anglian name. In Norfolk the Frosdick name is commonest in the Wymondham and Great Yarmouth areas, while Frostick appears mainly in the north and central parts of the county. However there is another centre of the Frostick name, in Essex, and in particular the north east of the county in the Manningtree area. The earliest Essex records I have seen are from the early 18th century, but I have much less detailed knowledge of Essex than of Norfolk, and I would be interested to know if earlier records can be found. Interestingly in the early 19th century Forstick is also commonly found in south east Suffolk, but I have no knowledge of any earlier references.

Although there has always been some movement of people, the earlier records strongly suggest that most people remained in their local areas, often marrying in the same or in nearby villages. It seems that it was not until the 19th century, no doubt linked to the ease of train travel, that there was any substantial movement to other parts of the country. Frosticks are then found in Kent, London, Liverpool, the North East and elsewhere. From the middle of the century, mainly caused by the poverty of the rural areas, there was a movement overseas, which results in Frosticks now well represented in Australia, the United States and to a lesser extent in other countries. From being almost entirely confined to Norfolk and to Essex the Frostick family is increasingly world wide.

Raymond Frostick June 2003

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