Parker Surname Genealogy

Parker comes from the Old French parquier, meaning “keeper of the park.” Parker was also a nickname for a gamekeeper.
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England. The earliest Parker reference was a Johannes
le Parquier or Parcar from Normandy who died in England around 1136. His family line continued in Yorkshire.

One Parker family has traced their ancestry back
to the 13th century when they were park keepers to John of Gaunt in the
of Bowland in Lancashire. They appeared in the Ribble valley in
the 15th
century, first at Horrocksford and then at Brownsholme.
The Parkers were Bowbearers of the Forest of
Bowland during the 17th and 18th centuries.
Their home of Brownsholme Hall, still with the
Parker family, is
the oldest
surviving family home in Lancashire.

Parker, born in the Forest of Bowland in the early 1700’s, moved across
Pennines to Halifax where he became a well-known local lawyer.
His home
in Halifax was Clare Hall.

Another early Parker family was of Bulwell and Norton Lees (Bulwell in Nottinghamshire and Norton Lees on the Derbyshire/Yorkshire border). They dated back to the early 14th century.  A branch of this family subsequently moved to Park Hall in Staffordshire and prospered in the legal profession:

  • Baron Parker of Macclesfield became Lord Chancellor in 1718 but was convicted of corruption and ended his life in a debtor’s prison.
  • a later Parker of the family, William Parker, joined the Navy and was Commander of the British Mediterranean fleet in the 1840’s.

outposts at that time were Morley in Norfolk, Great Burstead in Essex,
Tenterden in Kent, and North Molton in Devon.
The Parker line from Morley included Matthew Parker, Archbishop
from 1559 to 1575, and supposedly Robert Parker, better known in
America as the
outlaw Butch Cassidy.

The Parker
by the 19th
century still showed very much a northern bias.

Parkers in Ireland were
generally of English

An early arrival was John Parker
from Kent, appointed constable of Dublin castle in 1543.
Captain John Parker from Devon was granted
land in Tipperary in 1667. His
based at Castlelough, had become extensive landowners in the county by
the 19th
century. Michael Parker came to Ireland
with King William’s army in the 1690’s.
His descendants were Cork merchants.

America. Family tradition has
it that three brothers – Abraham, James,
and Thomas – came to New England in the 1630’s and settled in three
places, Chelmsford, Groton, and Reading. These Parkers may have
related, but it is doubtful if they were all brothers. James Parker made his mark in
Massachusetts. One line from Thomas
Parker led to the hunter Nathaniel Parker, an early settler in West
and then in Tennessee

Other early Parker arrivals in New England

  • another
    Thomas Parker, the son
    of a Puritan clergyman, who founded the town of Newbury, Massachusetts
    in 1635. He died childless.
  • the brothers
    Joseph and Nathan Parker, who were in Newbury by 1642 and later moved
  • George
    Parker, a carpenter who had
    come to Rhode Island in 1638 (the year he was put in the stocks there
    drunkenness). He was resident in
    Portsmouth until his death in 1656.
  • William
    Parker, who was one of the founders of Hartford, Connecticut. He later settled in Saybrook.
  • and
    two brothers Elisha and Robert Parker who were at Barnstable
    on Cape Cod by the 1650’s.

married without approval the daughter of the Earl of
Derby in 1703 and they fled to Portsmouth, New Hampshire soon
after. Many of their descendants were
including Samuel Parker who was appointed an Episcopal Bishop in 1804

John Parker, born in Baltimore in 1758, was a famous frontier
Ranger and early settler in Texas. He was immortalized in death
when he was killed by Comanche Indians in the Fort Parker massacre of
1836. It was his granddaughter Cynthia who was taken and adopted
by the Comanches and her son Quanah Parker who was to lead the tribe at
their Oklahoma reservation.

Canada. Benjamin
Parker, a mariner and fish merchant, left Cape Cod in Massachusetts for
Liverpool, Nova Scotia in the 1750’s. His
eldest son Snow
was to prosper there in trading, shipbuilding
privateering, which was to make him an extremely wealthy man.

Another Benjamin
Parker, this time from New Jersey, came to New Brunswick in 1783
together with
other Parker relatives. Some of them
settled on Campobello island. Others
moved to Nova Scotia. Many became
fishermen. These Parkers had come from
the Elisha Parker Cape Cod line.

Parker Miscellany

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

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Matthew Parker was Archbishop of Canterbury in 1559 and a leader
of Anglican thought in his time. He was called “Nosey Parker”
because he kept poking his nose into matters that should not concern
Quanah Parker was
in the 1870’s the last of the Comanche war chiefs.
George and Charles Parker
founded their board game company Parker Brothers in 1888.
Their best-known game was Monopoly which
came out during the Depression. In the same year of 1888 another
George Parker founded the Parker Pen Company.
, born Dorothy Rothschild, was an American writer and
critic noted for her acerbic wit, associated with The New Yorker and the Algonquin Round
Bonnie Parker was the
Bonnie in Bonnie and Clyde, the 1930’s outlaws later portrayed in film.
Charlie Parker was the great
jazz saxophonist, a founder of be-bop in the 1940’s.
Alan Parker is a British film

Select Parkers Today

  • 110,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Yorkshire)
  • 124,000 in America (most numerous in Texas)
  • 46,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)



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