Eddy (surname)

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The surname Eddy is used by descendants of a number of English, Irish and Scottish families.


Frank R. Holmes, in his Directory of the Ancestral Heads of New England Families, 1600-1700, proposes two possible origins; the Gaelic eddee, "instructor", or from the Saxon ed and ea, "backwards" and "water", a whirlpool or eddy, making the surname Eddy a place-name. Another possible origin is the Saxon root ead, "success" or "prosperity". Ead occurs in numerous commonly used names, as Edgar, Edmund, Edward, Edwin, and the outdated Edwy. John Eddy of Taunton spells the name Eddway in the earliest record so far found. Eddy could also be a diminutive of any one of these names.[1]

Robert Ferguson, in his work on English Surnames, believes that Eddy is a place-name: “Eday, Eady, Eddy are from ead, prosperity. Hence the name of the rock Eddiston, on which the celebrated light house is built. From this word are compounded a great number of Anglo-Saxon names of which we have Edward, Edmund, Edgar,Edw Edwin.”[2]

Early history[edit]

One of the first mentions that is close to the form of Eddy, is the name of the priest Eddi or Edde, Latinized into Eddius. He went to Northumbria from Canterbury with Bishop Wilfrid (or Wilfrith) in 669, and later took the name Stephanus. He taught the Roman method of chanting, and in 709 he was in the monastery of Ripon, where he wrote a life of Wilfrid in Latin.

In the Domesday Book, the name Eddeu is used in a description of Little Abington, Cambridgeshire, and during the time of Edward the First there were a number of people named Ede, Edde, and Edwy on the tax collection rolls of Worcestershire. There is a record in Hertfordshire, of a William Edy, Gentleman, in 1486. Edie, Eddy, Eddye, Edshune and Edye are found in numerous records in Gloucestershire from 1545 onward. At Woodbridge, Suffolk, Eyde is found as a surname between 1599 and 1610.

Starting from 1570 in the records of many parishes of the Archdeaconry Court of Cornwall, the following surnames are found: Edy, Eady, Eedy, Ede, Edye, Eddey, and Eddy. In Bristol, the town where William Eddye, the Vicar, was born, a number of wills from the late 16th century have the surname of Eddie, Eddye or Eddy. Ade, Adie, Addy, Eadie are common Scottish surnames. These may be forms of the name “Adam”. David Eadie of Moneaght, Scotland, was granted a coat of arms in 1672.

The surname in North America[edit]

In North America, the largest family group who bears the Eddy surname are descended from two brothers, John and Samuel, who immigrated to America on October 29, 1630 on a ship called Handmaid. Their father, William Eddye, was the Vicar of the church in Cranbrook[disambiguation needed], England, from 1586–1616 and was born in Bristol in the mid-16th century. Other Northern American "patriarchs" are John Eddy who lived in Taunton, Massachusetts in the late 17th century; John Eddy of Woodbridge, New Jersey, (Scottish) who immigrated in the early 18th century; James Eddy, born in Dublin, Ireland, around 1712, and immigrated in 1753; Thomas Eddy, immigrated in the late 18th century to Fort Ann, New York, from Ireland; brothers William and John Eddy, immigrated from Ireland to New York city in the mid 19th century; and William Dave Eddy, who came to the United States from Cornwall, England, in 1887. There is a currently large family of Eddys in Cornwall.

Notable persons[edit]

  • Arthur Jerome Eddy (1859–1920), American lawyer, author, art collector, and art critic
  • C. M. Eddy, Jr. (1896–1967), American short story writer
  • Charles B. Eddy (active on 1880s), American cattle rancher, namesake for Eddy County, New Mexico
  • Chuck Eddy (born 1960), American music journalist
  • David M. Eddy (active since 1971), American physician, mathematician, and healthcare analyst
  • Duane Eddy (born 1938), American guitarist
  • Eddy Brothers, two American mediums best known in the 1870s, who claimed psychic powers
  • Ezra Butler Eddy (1827–1906), Canadian businessman and political figure
  • Fannyann Eddy (1974–2004), murdered lesbian human rights defender from Sierra Leone
  • Frank Eddy (1856–1929), American politician from Minnesota
  • Jerome Eddy (1829–1905), American businessman and politician from Michigan
  • John A. Eddy (1931–2009), American astronomer
  • Manton S. Eddy (1892–1962), American general
  • Mary Baker Eddy (1821–1910), the American founder of the Church of Christ, Scientist church
  • Nelson Eddy (1901–1967), American singer
  • Norman Eddy (1810–1872), American politician and military officer
  • Sarah J. Eddy (1851–1945), American artist, photographer and suffragette
  • Sean Eddy (born circa 1966), bioinformatician
  • Shelia Eddy (born 1996), American convicted of murder
  • Thomas Eddy (1758–1827), NY merchant, philanthropist and politician
  • William A. Eddy (1896–1962), American academic and intelligence officer
  • William Abner Eddy (1850–1909), American accountant and journalist famous for his experiments with kites
  • William C. Eddy (1902–1989), American naval officer, submariner, engineer, television producer, educator, cartoonist, artist, inventor, entrepreneur, explorer, writer
  • William F. Eddy (1852–1930), Canadian political figure from Saskatchewan

Further reading[edit]

Eddy Family publications


  1. ^ Holmes, Frank R. (compiled by) (1923). Directory of the Ancestral Heads of New England Families, 1620-1700 (2008 ed.). New York: American Historical Society. ISBN 978-0-80-630182-2. OCLC 938920981. 
  2. ^ Ferguson, Robert (1858). English Surnames and Their Place in the Teutonic Family. London and New York: George Routledge & Co. p. 323. OCLC 26585162. 

External links[edit]