Origins Of thePLATT Name
From the December 1999 Platt Newsletter
By Richard N.Platt, Jr.
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Mostresearchers seem to think that the name originated in both Germany and England.Similar words appear in both German and English. The Latin word ‘plattus’ or"platus” indicates a flat, smooth body or surface, such as a plate or platof land. Because the Roman Empire extended over much of Western Europe, Latinroot words influenced the languages of most of these countries.
Somegenealogical researchers think that the Platt name is Saxon, and would thereforehave come into England around 500 AD with the Saxon invasions from the Saxe-Gotharegion of Germany. When associated with a German origin, the earlier spellingof ‘Platz’ seems to have evolved into “Platts” in some cases.
“Plate,”"Platte,” and “de Platt” are other spellings that are also mentioned byresearchers, the last of which might suggest a Norman, rather than Saxon,origin. The spelling "Platts” instead of “Platt” is found intermittentlyin the IGI for England in some of the same locales as those where “Platt” islisted. Indeed, a family of Platts (with the “s”) settled in Rowley,Massachusetts, in the mid-l7th century, coming from the Sowerby/Halifax area ofYorkshire. So far, we have been unable to find a connection between them andthe Platt (without the “s”) family.
Another group withthe spelling “Platts” is found in South Carolina, and the name seems to havebeen Platz prior to the AmericanRevolution. The Platt family is alsofound there, and is noted in the south Carolina records as far back as 1721. Noconnection has yet been found with the Platt families of Milford, CT or Burlington,NJ. Similarly, a Frederick Platt(s) settled in Killingworth, CT in themid-1600’s, confusing Charles Platt, Jr., in his 1963 Genealogy. Charles conjectured that he was a grandson of Isaac2 ofHuntington, NY. But Frederick was German in origin, and his name may haveoriginally been Platz. Some of his descendants still live in the area, and theyhave used the Platt spelling for many generations.
It is thought thatthe English name “Platt” refers to the flat region of northwestern Englandbetween the hills of Wales and the Yorkshire area around the Lancaster,Cheshire, and Manchester areas, where it is believed that the Platt name firstappeared. While some of the name have been found in nearby Derbyshire, thebiggest concentration seems to have been found in the area of Manchestereastward to the Lancashire/Yorkshire border area, Saddleworth and Oldham in particular.Some Platts from this area are thought to have later moved to the London,Hertfordshire, Essex region. My Platts (immigrant Richard Platt (1604-1685))came from Ware, Herts., and his wife, Mary Wood, from Roydon, Essex. Theysettled in Milford, Conn. in 1639. Descendants of Richard constitute the largestPlatt family in the USA and this family has spread throughout the country andinto Canada and Mexico. We have not yet been able to determine the origins ofthe Thomas Platt of Burlington, NJ family, or if it has a connection with theRichard Platt family.
Thanks to BetsyPlatt Waters of Charleston, SC for providing much of the information for thisarticle