Hanks Surname Genealogy

is generally regarded as
a Flemish pet-form of John. Most of the
early Hanks surname holders seem to have had a Flemish weaver origin. Flemish weavers were to be found in England
from the early 14th century. There is an
older Scandinavian origin, from the Old Norse personal name Anke,
which could
have resulted in some Hanks surnames. DNA testing has shown that
the Hanks surname has at least two separate groupings.

Hanks Resources on

Hanks Ancestry

Hanks surname was
said to have been first found in Wiltshire in the west country. Early stories have the name associated with
the town of Malmesbury going back to pre-Norman times.
William Hanks was a photographer in
Malmesbury in the late 19th century and there are still some Hanks in

What is known is that Thomas
Hanks, probably from Malmesbury, settled in Stow-on-the-Wold in
around 1550. The Hanks name was also
evident in the Cotswold villages of a number of Gloucestershire parishes
during the 17th and 18th
centuries. However, many of these Hanks
may have come
from Flemish weavers in the area. Colonel Hercules Huncks, born
in nearby
Stratford, was certainly of Dutch origin.

The Hanks name was still to be found in the area – in villages
such as Horsley, where Elizabeth
Hanks emigrated

from in the 1830’s, and Naunton, where a Hanks family started quarrying
Cotswold stone in the 1930’s. James
was an audacious
young burglar in Oxford in 1793, but was finally caught, convicted, and
transported to Australia

Ireland. The
Hanks in Dublin were a Quaker family that had begun with Hercules
Huncks, a
colonel with Oliver Cromwell. They
operated a mill at Rathangan outside Dublin and were also the agents
for the
Dublin and Liverpool Steam Navigation Company.
The 1794 wedding of Jeremiah Hanks and Sarah Lapham brought
together the
elite of Irish Quaker society. Some of
these Hanks emigrated to America in the early 1800’s, principally to

America. Benjamin Hanks from
Stow-on-the-Wold in Gloucestershire came to New England with his wife
in 1699 and settled in Pembroke, Massachusetts.
He died in Easton in 1755 “in the ninetieth year of his age as
he saith.” Some of the later Hanks were
Mormons. They headed west to Salt Lake, Utah in the 1850’s.

Thomas Hanks appeared in Virginia land
records in Westmoreland county at an earlier date – in 1654. He also, it is believed, came from
Stow-on-the-Wold in Gloucestershire. He
been captured by the Royalists at the battle of Cirencester and
deported to
America as an indentured servant. His
line led, among other people, to Nancy
, the mother of Abraham Lincoln.

Hanks in the South.
The Hanks numbers increased in Virginia during the 18th century and
spread over the south. Barbara Baber’s
2009 book Hanks Family Chronicles, an expansion of the earlier Hanks
of Virginia and Westward
, covered this ground.

Hanks were among the early
settlers of Arkansas. One
line of Hanks came from Maryland and had been at one time Quakers. Fleetwood Hanks and his two brothers arrived
in 1827 and bought land outside Helena in the eastern part of the state
they built their Hanks homestead, Estevan
. Another line was from North
Carolina and Nathan Hanks who arrived in Arkansas a few years later. His son, G.P. Hanks, was born in NW Arkansas
in 1836 but spent most of his life travelling as an itinerant preacher
returning to Arkansas in the 1880’s.

The Rev. Thomas Hanks was also an itinerant preacher, this time from
Tennessee, who came with other Tennessee families to Texas in 1836 and
continued to preach there until his death in 1857. Meanwhile
another Rev. Thomas Hanks, known as Father Tom, was a Baptist minister
at a slightly later date in Christian county, SW Missouri.

Today the largest number of Hanks in America are in Texas.
The Rev. R.T. Hanks was a prominent Baptist minister first in Dallas in
the 1880’s and then in Abilene.
His son Bernard Hanks
began in newspapers in Abilene and then in 1920 joined forces with
Houston Harte of San Antonio to form the Harte-Hanks newspaper chain.

Alfred and Selina
Hanks emigrated from Yorkshire to Canada in 1905. Both
their sons Bill and Norman enlisted in
the Canadian Expeditionary Force in 1915.
Norman died on the Western front in 1918, Bill survived. He moved west to Manitoba in the 1920’s,
starting out there as a civil engineer before entering the world of
and local politics

Hanks Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:

Hanks Names

Hanks Lincoln
the mother of President Abraham Lincoln.
Bernard Hanks helped found the
Harte-Hanks newspaper chain in Texas in the 1920’s.

is a well-known American actor.

Select Hanks Today

  • 3,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Gloucestershire)
  • 6,000 in America (most numerous in Texas)
  • 1,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)



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