Locke Surname Genealogy

and Locke

are the surname spellings
today, which were rendered in earlier times as Loc or Lok. The
principal derivation seems to have been
the Old English word loc. This
could mean a “lock” or “fastening” and
might therefore describe someone who lived by an enclosure that was
locked; or it
could also possibly describe a locksmith.
It might in addition mean a “lock of hair” and therefore be a
for someone with curly hair.
Locke can also reflect Chinese origins, from Lok the
Cantonese pronunciation of the
Chinese surname Luo.
Select Locke Resources on The Internet

Locke Ancestry

and Locke have been
very much west country names. We find a
very early reference in the 9th century with Ethelbrett of Loxton Loc. Loc here was not a surname, just a locational
abbreviation for a place-name near East Brent in Somerset.
However, his line would appear to have
descended to the Lok and Locke family found in London from the 15th

West Country. William
Locke was recorded in Somerset and Robert Locke in Wiltshire around the
1350. One
line dated back to the early 1500’s.
Edward Locke lived at Canning’s Court in Buckland-Newton parish
in the
1550’s. His son Nicholas moved to
Pensfold in Somerset where he was a clothier.
Nicholas’s grandson, born in this area in 1632, was the great
philosopher and political theorist John Locke

Family histories in the west country began

  • William
    Lock who was born in West Bagborough, Somerset in 1530.
    Many of his descendants are still living in
  • Leonard
    Lock who was born in Ilminster, Somerset in 1658 and emigrated to
    around the year 1685. His line was
    recounted in Dr. J.R. Peacock’s 1998 book Leonard
    Lock and Descendants
  • and
    Lock of Dorchester in Dorset who married Frances Brown in 1707.

Coming from
Wiltshire were the Lok mercers – John Lok who was Sheriff of London in
his son Thomas, and his grandson Sir
William Lok
, Sheriff of London in 1548 and a gentleman usher to
Henry VIII. Sir
William, married twice, was the father of nineteen children and the
forebear of
a larger Locke family
. By
second wife Catherine came:

  • John
    born around 1520, who was a merchant and traveler.
    There were reports of him traveling to
    Jerusalem and commanding a ship bound for Guinea in West Africa.
  • Henry
    Lok, born around 1525, who was a London
    mercer. His wife Anne was a poet and
    translator, as was his son Henry.
  • and
    Michael Lok, born in 1532, who was a London-based merchant and traveler
    and a
    principal backer of Frobisher’s unsuccessful search for a Northwest
    passage to
    Asia. In 1579 he described himself as
    having a wife and fifteen children. From him came
    Bristol merchants. Another of his
    descendants Lewis Locke, who was born in
    Somerset in
    1606 and died there in 1692, exceeded his total in both wives and
four wives he had thirty five children, most of whom lived to be men
women. What is more remarkable is that
his eldest son
born in 1625, was fifty nine years of age when his
youngest son
was born at Taunton in 1684. It was reported in the family that
John had a
great grandson as old as his younger brother.”

in London led to Sir John Lock, a merchant importing luxury goods from
in the 1660’s. His son George invested
in property along St. James’s Street in London and in 1676 the
company that became James Lock &

was started there. It still operates on
the same premises today.

Another London line had obscure origins. William Lock, said to
have been the son of a broker, got rich as a merchant in London in the
1730’s. His line was perpetuated by his mistress Mary Wood and
their son William who both assumed the Lock name on his death in
1761. Son William could afford to buy the Norbury Park estate in
Surrey in 1774 and both he and his son Charles could spend their lives
as art connoisseurs.

Gypsy Locks.
These Locks were a Romany family who were first recorded travelling
between Devon and Gloucestershire in the mid/late 1700’s. Eric
Trudgell’s pamphlet The Family Tree
of Matthew and Merrick Lock
began in the 1780’s. In the
19th century their area of roaming had widened. One Lock branch
were renowned fiddlers who travelled the circuit of Herefordshire,
Shropshire and Staffordshire.

Scotland. The Lock name
appeared at an early time on the Scottish borders.
John Lock of Roxburghshire was recorded in
the Ragman’s Roll in 1296 as rendering homage to the English king. He was probably the John Lok who was
a juror there in 1303. However, Lockie has
been the more common spelling in that region and neither Lock nor Locke
has been
found much as a surname in Scotland

Ireland. The spelling in
Ireland has tended to be Locke. The name has been spread across
the country, but in no great numbers. The best-known Lockes were
the small-time merchants from Kildare who bought the Kilbeggan whiskey
distillery in Westmeath in the 1840’s. They made Locke’s a
popular whiskey brand in Ireland.

and Elizabeth Locke, said to have been of Scots Irish heritage, were
living in
Antrim in the 1820’s. Their son John and
his wife Mary emigrated to Iowa in 1854.
Charles Locke left Belfast for South Africa around 1900. He was the father of the South African golfer
Bobby Locke.

America. There
were two main early Locke lines that came to America:

  • the
    first line was attributable to William
    Locke, possibly an orphan, who came to the Massachusetts Bay Colony on
    the Planter in 1634 at the age of six.
    He settled in Woburn around 1650 and died
    there in 1720 at the grand age of 92. He
    was the focus of one of the early genealogical books, John Goodwin
    Locke’s Book of the Lockes, written in 1853.
  • then
    Captain John Locke arrived
    in Dover,
    New Hampshire from Yorkshire around the year 1644.
    Here the early
    reference book was Arthur Locke’s 1917 book A
    History and Genealogy of Captain John Locke
    . This book was
    updated in
    1979 and again in 2002

New Hampshire.
Locke and three of his brothers had migrated from New Hampshire to
in 1720 and he was a captain of the state militia during the
Revolutionary War. William
Locke, a church deacon, remained in New Hampshire.
His descendant John Locke, known as “honest
John the miller,” set up a saw mill and grist mill at Locke’s Fall near
Barrington after the War.

Calvin Locke of the Massachusetts William Locke line
was also in New Hampshire after the War.
His eldest son Calvin ended up in Texas, another son Luther in
California. His line was covered in
Samuel Gerould’s 1900 book The
Descendants of Calvin Locke

Other Lock and Locke Arrivals. Leonard
thought by some to have been a descendant of Lewis Locke, came to
Philadelphia from
Somerset around the year 1685, first settling in Pennsylvania and then
to Bladen county, North Carolina. His
descendants were to be found in North Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama.

There were
Locks in Lancaster county, Pennsylvania by the 1740’s.
Tradition has it that the first arrival was John
Lock who had been running a line of immigrant ships between London and
Philadelphia. By the 1750’s they had
moved to North Carolina. Matthew Locke,
a general during the Revolutionary War, came from this family. So too did Francis Locke, another general who
turned the tide of the war in the south.
His son Francis was very briefly US Senator for North Carolina
in 1814. Some Lockes moved to Georgia and,
after the
Civil War, to Texas.

Heading West. Dean Locke, born in New
Hampshire and the son
of Luther Locke of the William Locke line, headed for California at the
time of
the Gold Rush. He became a farmer in the San Jaoquin valley
the town of Lockeford there was named after him.

George W. Locke from New Hampshire and the
Captain John Locke line there also came to California as a young man,
in Sacramento in 1852 where he became a merchant. He
was the owner of land along the San
Jaoquin river delta south of Sacramento and built his family home, an
and packing house there. That land would
be known as Lockeport in the 1890’s and later as Locke when it was an
early settlement
for Chinese immigrants to California. It
is now known as the Locke Historic District.

Canada. An
early settler of what had been known for a
long time as the Ragged Islands off Nova Scotia was Jonathan Locke from
Massachusetts, a descendant of Captain John
Locke. He had arrived there around
1761. His descendants became wealthy
from their proximity to rich fishing grounds.
The town that sprung up there was known as Lockeport.

Australia. Robert Lock, a carpenter,
had been convicted
for burglary in Norfolk and transported on the Grenada
to Australia in 1821.
Three years later, he was party to an extraordinary marriage –
the first
between an Englishman and an Aboriginal woman – whereby he was offered
to his bride Maria
but could be returned if she did not approve of him.
The couple were also promised a grant of
land and a cow, although it took many years for the promised land to

They raised nine children and Maria lived onto 1878.
Some of her grandsons and great grandsons
volunteered to fight in World War One.
Their story was told in Philippa Scarlett’s 2008 book The Lock Family in World War One. There
are estimated to be 7,000 descendants
of Robert and Maria Locke today.

Locke Miscellany

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

Locke Names

was a 17th
century English philosopher,commonly known as the “Father
of Liberalism.”  
Francis Locke
led the American
Patriots in victory over the British at Rameur’s Mill in the
Revolutionary War,
turning the tide in the war in the south.
a South African golfer who
won the English Open championship four times in the 1950’s
Tony Lock was a left-arm
spinner in the English cricket teams of the 1950’s.
Gary Faye Locke
Governor of Washington state from 1997 to 2005, the first Chinese American ever to hold that office.

Select Lockes Today

  • 22,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Hampshire)
  • 14,000 in America (most numerous in California)
  • 11,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)



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