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Pratt Family History
Recorded in various spelling forms including Prett and Pritt, this interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origins. It is derived from a pre 7th century word "praett" meaning a trick; and as such was probably a nickname for a magician or conjuror. It is an example of that sizeable group of early European surnames that were gradually created from either an occupation, or from a variety of characteristics, such as physical attributes or peculiarities, mental and moral characteristics, and to habits of dress.
Pratt (Variants: Pritt, Prett)
This surname is derived from the name of an ancestor, 'the son of Prat'.
An English nickname for a clever trickster, from Old English prætt ‘trick’, ‘tricky’, ‘cunning’ or signifying deception, which was found in use as a byname in the 11th century.
From the Latin Pratum, a meadow. In the Dutch, Prat also signifies proud, arrogant, cunning.
Early bearers of the surname include: Dereman le Prat, 1198 in Curia Regis Rolls (Kent); William Pratte, 1311 in Patent Rolls (Surrey); Johannes Pratte, 1377 in Poll Tax (Ebberston, NR Yorks); Ricardus Pratt, 1379 in Poll Tax (Lapworth, Warwicks); Johannes Pret, 1381 in Poll Tax (Beckford, Gloucs); Thomas Prat, 1493 in Feet of Fines (Stradishall, Suffolk); Thomas Pratt, 1559 in PROB 11 (Westminster, Middx); Robert Prate, 1583 in Parish Registers (Saint Andrew, Feniton, Devon).
George Pratt, English convict from Hertfordshire, who was transported aboard the "America" 4 April 1829, settling in New South Wales, Australia.
In 1881, the surname was widespread especially in England. Hertfordshire was a top county of the surname with 204 occurrences.
In the same census year, Agricultural Labourer, Farmer and Labourer were the top 3 reported jobs worked by Pratt in the UK, with Agricultural Labourer being the most common. A less common occupation was Coal Miner.
In 1891, the surname was recorded in England and Wales with 16,188 occurrences and a fewer 613 occurrences in Scotland.
John Henry Pratt (1809 – 1871) was a British clergyman, astronomer and mathematician. He wrote a book called Mathematical Principles of Mechanical Philosophy in 1836, which described mathematical applications in gravitational physics.
Francis Ashbury Pratt (1827-1902), American mechanical engineer and inventor from Peru, New York, co-founder of Pratt & Whitney. He designed a milling machine, an important American machine tool of the 19th century.
George Dupont Pratt (1869 – 1935) was an American conservationist and philanthropist.
1881, 1891 Census
1881 Census in Hertfordshire
Dictionary of American Family Homes, P Hanks OUP 2003
Homes of Family Names in Great Britain, H.B. Guppy, London 1890
The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland, P.Hanks, Coats, McClure OUP 2016
1860 Lower, Mark A Patronymica Britannica: a dictionary of the family names of the United Kingdom, London: J.R Smith. Public Domain
1857 Arthur, William An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. New York: Sheldon, Blakeman. Public Domain
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