Historical and Biographical Sketch of the Ricker, Riker Family Origin

We are informed by writers on European genealogy, that the Rikers were originally a German family, located at a very remote period in Lower Saxony, where they enjoyed a state of allodial independence, at that day regarded as constituting nobility. There they possessed the estate or manor of Rycken from which they took their name, then written von Rycken, indicating its territorial derivation. Subsequently the name suffered various changes, being found written de Rycke, de Ryk, Riecke, and in America finally assuming its present form.

Hans von Rycken, the lord of the above manor, and a valiant knight, with his cousin, Melchior von Rycken, who lived in Holland, took part in the first crusade to the Holy Land, in 1096, heading 800 crusaders in the army of Walter the Penniless. Melchior lived to return, but Hans perished in that ill-fated expedition. In time the descendants of Melchior von Rycken extended themselves from Holland to the region of the Rhine and into Switzerland, and from these originated a branch of the family which became distinguished in the city of Spire. This branch of the family wrote its name Ricker, by which, as well as by its escutcheon, it continued to be distinguished. As regards the American portion of the Riker family, it is believed they were descended from a branch of the family of considerable wealth and importance at Amsterdam where they had occupied places of public trust for two centuries. In this war, Captain Jacob Simonez de Rycke, a wealthy corn merchant of the above city, distinguished himself by his military services. It has been conjectured that he was the grandfather of Abraham de Rycke, the head of the family in America.When New Netherland invited the virtuous and the daring to seek a home in her wilds, several of the Rikers joined the adventures coming hither. These were Abraham, Gysbert, Rynier and Hendrick Rycken, the last of whom came out a few years after the others, and was the ancestor of the Suydam family, his sons assuming that name.

Early American Settlers

Prominent American Descendants

Coat of Arms

According to Burke's General Armory the coat of arms belonging the Riker family is as follows:
Ermine a chevron between three roses gules.

Explanation of the above coat:

ERMINE - A fur of heraldry has so long been associated with the robes and crowns of royal and noble personages, that it is easy to understand why it should be considered as a perfect emblem of dignity in any coat-of-arms.
CHEVRON - Signify protection and have often been granted in arms as a reward to one who has achieved some notable enterprise. It is supposed to represent the roof-tree of a house and has sometimes been given to those who have built churches or fortresses, or who have accomplished some work of faithful service. ROSE - Signifies and expresses "Beauty and Grace", and is reckoned the first among the flowers.
GULES - or red, denotes military fortitude and magnanimity. It is also the "Martyr's Color". The crest of the above coat is as follows: Demi-lion rampant holding a battle axe ppr.