Park Surname Meaning, History & Origin
medieval times the
park, from the French parc, was a
fenced-in hunting area, kept specially for the use of royalty and
nobility. The keeper of the park held a
position of status and trust as he had the powers of arrest and
punishment. This occupation has supplied the surnames Park,
Parks and Parkes:
has been the main version in England, although
Parks and Park are also found
has tended to be the American spelling
Park is found in both Scotland and America.
Park is also
the third most frequent Korean surname, traditionally dating back to
Park/Parks/Parkes Resources on
- The Parke Society
- AJ Parkes and Descendants
Parkes in the West Midlands.
- A Grave Tale
Harry Parkes of Birchills Hall.
- Parks of Sullivan County
Parks in New York.
- Parks Families of East Tennessee
Parks in East Tennessee.
- The Parke Society
American descendants of Robert Parke who arrived in New England in 1630.
- Parks DNA Project
has Parkes, Parks,
and Park – Parkes in the West Midlands, Parks in SE England, and Park
Parkes name in three West Midlands counties – Staffordshire,
Worcestershire – accounted for over 60% of all the Parkes in England in
1881 census. The first record of the name here was Henry del
Parck in the assize
court rolls of Staffordshire in 1272.
Parkes was a landowning family in the 1600’s in Wednesbury, south Staffordshire.
Thomas Parkes was a staunch Parliamentarian
at Willingsworth Hall who paid for and raised his own troop of cavalry
the Civil War. Later the Parkes profited
from the coal mines in the area. Richard
Parkes acquired Oakeswell Hall in 1689.
When he died he left four daughters, but no sons.
Parkes were evident in Halesowen, Worcestershire from
the early 1500’s. Harry
Parkes was born there in 1792, the son of a
curate at the parish church. He
prospered as an iron-master and moved into Birchills Hall.
However, in 1833 he was killed instantly when
the carriage in which he was riding overturned.
His memorial reads as follows:
to the memory of Harry Parkes of
Birchills Hall who was accidentally killed on August 3, 1833 aged 42,
three children to deplore their early loss.”
His son Harry left for Asia in 1841
where he did well – acting Consul in Canton, Consul General in Japan,
British minister for Korea.
The Parkes name was common
in Dudley, Warwickshire by the early 1700’s.
Richard Parkes, born around 1742, was a baker in the town. From him was descended Josiah Parkes who
founded the Parkes family lock business at Willenhall in the mid-19th
was born in
Stoneleigh, Warwickshire in 1815 and had a tough upbringing before he
to Australia in 1839 and made his mark there.
Parks. The Parks name was mainly to be
found in East
Sussex and Kent. The Parks family of
Haywards Heath were well-known. Brothers
James and Harry played cricket for Sussex in the 1930’s.
James’s son Jim Parks was an England batsman
and wicket-keeper in the 1960’s.
The Park name has appeared in Cumberland and Durham near the
Scotland and also in Lancashire. Two from Lancashire emigrated to America in the
Robert Parke from Preston in 1630 and Roger Parke from Cartmel in 1678.
William Park was a yeoman farmer at Thurnham near
Lancaster in the mid-1700’s. His
descendants were also farmers in the Lancaster area, although son James
grandson Joseph were recorded as well as publicans – James of the Dalton Arms at Glasson Dock and Joseph
of the Green Dragon in Galgate.
of Perk was presbyter of the Glasgow diocese in 1433 and a
Park family held the lands of Park in Erskine parish
in Renfrewshire in the late 1400’s. The name also appeared at an
early time in
the northeast in Aberdeen where
Thomas de Perk held
land in 1445.
Mungo Park the
African explorer was born in Selkirkshire on the Scottish borders in
1771. His family had been tenant farmers
close on a hundred years. And
there were two later Mungo Parks, father and nephew, who came from a
famous Park family of Scottish golfers
Musselburgh in East Lothian.
The arrival names may have been Parkes or Parke. But
the spelling later tended to become standardized
New England. Robert Parke was an early
arrival in New
England on the Arabella with
Winthrop’s fleet in 1630. He settled in
Mystic, Connecticut in 1649. His son
Thomas later made his home in New London.
Frank Parks’ 1906 book Genealogy
of the Parke Families of Connecticut covered the descendants of
There were two Parks lines that
migrated from Connecticut to upstate New York in the mid/late 1700’s:
Parks established his family at South
Glens Falls in the
mid-1700’s. Elijah was killed there
during an Indian raid in 1777, however.
William Parks moved in 1789 to Sullivan
county and what became known as Parksville. Many
family stories were recounted by William’s great
Cora who died in 1972 at the grand age of 103.
Virginia. There were early Parke and Parkes in
Virginia. Colonel Daniel Parke from
Essex made his home in New Kent county.
He died in 1679 and there
is a large tablet to his memory on the wall of Bruton church in
Williamsburg where he was a vestryman.
Meanwhile Charles Parkes was a gunsmith recorded in Northampton
John Parks arrived in Virginia in 1658.
His son Thomas settled in Albemarle county in an area known as Ballengers Mountain, his grandson John in Wilkes county,
Carolina. Through another grandson
Thomas via North Carolina came the Parkes of Moore county, Tennessee.
Elsewhere. William Parks arrived in Maryland from
Shropshire in 1726 and started
a print shop in Annapolis. He became
Maryland’s official printer and
then Virginia’s and left a substantial estate on his death in 1750. But this was mostly devoured by debt and
Parke from Lancashire came to Hopewell near Trenton in New Jersey in
1678. There he was a Keithian Quaker and a
respected physician specializing in herbal medicine learnt from the
Indians. Some of Roger’s descendants
Hampshire county, Virginia and one line later in Preble county, Ohio.
According to the family story, eleven Scots
Irish brothers named Park came to America in the mid/late-1700’s, one
Captain Parks, fought in the Revolutionary War and made his home in
Carolina. Son Joseph Parks migrated to
Sumner county, Tennessee. He and his
family were devoted members of the Cumberland Presbyterian church, one
Hamilton later becoming a Presbyterian minister.
Parke, a descendant of immigrant Robert Parke, was a Loyalist who
Canada in 1784 and was granted land at Napanee in Ontario.
He married twice and sired eighteen children
who reached adulthood. The Parke Bible
which listed these offspring has been preserved.
William Parks, Scots
Irish, had come from Ireland to New Brunswick in 1822 and soon became a
Saint John merchant. His home there,
built around 1850 on Parks Street, still stands.
Australia. John Parkes from Halesowen
had been shipped out to Sydney on the Barwell
as a convict in 1798. After a spell
working in the Government dockyards, he secured some land to gather
along the Cooks river. This area became
known as Parkestown. His son Bill became
a champion bare-knuckle boxer.
Nat Latham. The fight lasted 62 rounds
and only ended when in a clutch they both fell and Bill suffered a
Henry Parkes who arrived from Warwickshire
in 1839 was a larger-than-life
character. He was according to The Times of London “the most commanding figure in
Australian politics.” With five terms to
his credit, he remains the longest-serving premier of New South
And he led the cause for federation and nationhood.
He was married three times
and fathered twelve surviving children.
Following his first wife’s death in 1888 he married his
mistress Nellie Dixon. The couple already had three children and two
to follow. After Nellie’s untimely
death from cancer in 1895, he then married the family’s housekeeper
and gave her legal responsibility for his five young children.
Park, Parks, and Parkes Today
- Ireland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
The Parkes at Wednesbury. The Parkes
family once possessed part of the Wednesbury tithes in south
Staffordshire. Their benefactions to the
parish were numerous and their monumental tombs may still be found in
the Hall’s latter days they seem to have attended the Wednesbury Old
Church regularly. There was a straight
carriage drive from their Hall to the Church, in the line of Wellcroft
Street. A set of steps from a churchyard
gate led up to the north entrance. This road was sheltered by a
of trees. Yet it was so straight,
according to tradition, the servants at the Hall could see when the
his party left the church gates after Divine service on Sunday and
be prepared to serve their dinner.
Sir Henry Parkes’ Upbringing. Henry Parkes
had been born in 1815 at Moat House Cottage in Canley, which was then
the Stoneleigh estate owned by the Leigh family. For
at least a century the Parkes family had
been tenant farmers there, growing wheat, barley, and other arable
When Henry was seven, his family was thrown off their land, no longer
able to pay their rent. What had begun
as a ‘normal’ rural life took a dramatic turn. Henry wrote:
the time my father left Stoneleigh, I
might date the commencement of suffering and hardship which soon
resulted in bleak
and lasting destitution.”
family was forced to find work wherever they could.
From the age of ten, Henry worked alternately
making ropes in a factory, breaking rocks to build roads, making and
bricks. The physical hardship continued
for several years before he finally found work as an apprentice ivory
Birmingham where he stayed for eight years.
In 1836, at the age of 21, he married Clarinda Varney. They moved to
London in 1838 where making a living continued to be a struggle before
decided to emigrate to Australia in 1839 to make a fresh start.
Lacking any formal education, through
poverty, the imprisonment of his father and forced separation of his
the deaths of his first two children with Clarinda and further
hardship, this was the man that ultimately went on to become a great
politician and statesman who has been called the father of Australian
The Park Family of Golf at Musselburgh. James Park, a ploughman, and his wife Euphemia had moved in 1834 to Cottage
Lane on the road that ran along the south of Musselburgh golf links. Golf had been played on these links as early
of James’s children took to golf – Archibald, Willie Sr, Dave, and
Mungo Sr. Willie and Mungo both won the
Open. Dave came a close second to Willie
in 1866. When Mungo won in 1874, the
prize money was eight pounds. Archibald briefly became a golf
ball maker who
went away to sea and then started a laundry business with his wife and
daughter. Another son James became a
footman to Lord Meadowbank and later a butler.
next generation had Willie’s
sons as golfers – Willie Jr and Mungo Jr.
Willie Jr. was the Open champion in 1887 and 1888 and a golf
designer. Willie’s great grandson is the
architect and golf historian Mungo Park.
Parkes to Parks in America. The following
was the statement made by Rufus Parks of Lynchburg, Tennessee to his
son Roy in
name is Rufus Alonzo Parks. The proper spelling of the name is
“Parkes.” My grandfather, Allen W.
Parkes, always spelled the name with the “e.”
My father, Rufus Burton Parks, son of Allen W. Parkes, was the
my family to drop the “e” from the name, and I have followed after him.”
Burton Parkes was born in Moore county, Tennessee in 1827.
But his son, born in 1849, was Rufus Alonzo
The Parks Family of South Glens Falls. Elijah Parks, patriarch of the family, came to the South Glens Falls area in
upstate New York from
Connecticut. He and his five sons had
a sawmill on the Hudson
prior to the Revolution.
the Tories and a group of Indian raiders
burned his home. Elijah
and his son Elisha were both killed. It became known as the
Massacre.” His son Isaac was captured and carried to
Daniel escaped capture and later with a band of militia was responsible
receiving the keys to Fort George at its surrender. Daniel and
of 8 children had a one-room log cabin less than a mile from the burned
home that was not damaged during the raid.
Parks’ property ran along
the Hudson river
from the connection to Glens Falls all the way to Fenimore at Baker’s
present day Hudson Falls. The Parks ran a ferry across the river
lore would have you believe that a tunnel went from the house to the
part of the Underground Railroad. Older visitors who played in the yard
children confirmed the tunnel. But
it was in the oldest part of the house, it is believed that it was an
for the family in case their home was attacked, as was the home of
not part of the Underground
Railroad for runaway slaves.
descendant Solomon Parks
became rich in the lumbering industry and had a very nice home on Park
in Glens Falls. He gave his home to become the first community
but he died one month before it was to open. However, that may
public refused to go there,
believing that the doctors were conducting experiments on patients.
- Mungo Park was a famous Scottish explorer of the late 18th
century who led two expeditions to find the source of the Niger river in Africa.
- Sir Henry Parkes was an Australian politician of the late 19th century who has been called the
father of Federation.
- Gordon Parks was an American photographer and film director. He was a pioneer among black filmmakers,
being the first African American to produce and direct major motion pictures.
- Rosa Parks was an activist in the civil
rights movement, best known for her pivotal role in the Montgomery bus boycott.
- James Park is a Korean American tech entrepreneur. He
co-founded and is CEO of Fitbit.
Select Park/Parks/Parkes Numbers Today
- 35,000 in the UK (most numerous
in West Midlands)
- 61,000 in America (most numerous in Texas)
- 23,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)
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