Timberlake Surname Meaning, History & Origin

Select Timberlake Meaning
The Timberlake surname comes from the place-name Timberlake in the parish of Bayton, Worcestershire which has long since vanished.

Timberlake Resources on

Timberlake Ancestry

EnglandThe Timberlake place-name in Worcestershire created the surname Timberlake and
there have been some examples of Timberlakes in Worcestershire.  Jane Timerlacke was born at
Knighton-upon-Teme in 1571 and John Tymberlake at Rock in 1609.  However, the 1891 census recorded no
Timberlakes at all in Worcestershire.

Tracking the name can be a little difficult as Timberlake
did come in a variety of spellings, such as Timberlick, Timberlek, Timlick, Timlek, Timblick, and Timlock.  However, it does seem clear that Timberlake had become by the 17th century a name found more in London and surrounding counties.

An early sighting for the Timberlake lines in Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire was Thomas Timberlake
and his wife Elizabeth who were married in Ellseborough in the early 1600’s.  One Sarrett line dates from the late
1600’s. William Timberlake and Mary
Dancer were married in High Wycombe in 1717.
From them came the Timberlakes of Harmondsworth in

Henry Timberlake from Tichfield near Southampton was a
prosperous London ship captain and merchant adventurer in Mediterranean waters in the
early 1600’s.  He also journeyed to
Virginia (perhaps he was the Henry Timberlake mentioned in Captain John Smith’s
account) before his death in 1625.  His
grandson Henry emigrated to Rhode Island.

America.  Henry Timberlake who was in Rhode Island by 1650 was the first Timberlake to
settle in America.  But Virginia was
where the subsequent Timberlakes came and Virginia today has the
largest numbers of Timberlakes in America.

Virginia.  In the late 1690’s three
Timberlakes said to be brothers – Richard, Francis and Joseph – landed at Port Royal in
Caroline county (Timberlake is the name of a 1750’s-built house there that still stands).  Most Timberlakes came from
these brothers.  Some may also have come from Richard
and Frances (nee Harfield) Timberlake, later probable immigrants in 1760.

A grandson from the earlier Richard line was Henry Timberlake, the army lieutenant
who journeyed into Cherokee territory along the lower Tennessee river in the 1760’s and wrote an illuminating account of his travels.  This later received a wide audience.

“However, none of these
things earned Timberlake wealth, comfort, or even the gratitude of his country.
He died in a debtor’s prison in London and didn’t live to see his life’s work published.”

There was a claim that the
singer Justin Timberlake was descended from Henry.
Although Henry died without issue, he was
said to have
during his travels the daughter of a Cherokee chief and fathered
children by her.  The other Justin line has him
descended from Henry’s contemporary
Timberlake (from the Francis line) who
lived in Lancaster county.

From the Francis line also is thought to have come Joseph Timberlake, who was born in Caroline county in 1752.  He fought
in the Revolutionary War and died in Hart county, Kentucky.  His line was covered in Mary King Bailey’s
revised 2003 edition of The Joseph
Timberlake Family.

From the Joseph line came Lewis Timberlake, recorded in Caroline county in
1799.  His family later spread to
Fluvanna, Albermarle and Bedford counties.
John Timberlake was the first clerk of Fluvanna and died there
at eighty nine years of age.  His sons Walker, John
and Horace all lived in Albemarle county.

Much of this genealogy was covered in Addie
Timberlake McCall’s 1936 book Timberlake Genealogy.  

Elsewhere.  Some Timberlakes had
crossed over from
Virginia to Kentucky by the 1780’s.  Joseph
Timberlake arrived there in 1795.  John
W. Timberlake, born in Kentucky in 1809, moved onto NW Missouri – first to the
St. Louis area and then in the 1830’s to Platte county when it had been opened up for settlement:

  • his son John was “the chivalrous and fearless” Sheriff
    Timberlake of Clay county
  • while his grandson James was a
    US marshal in the 1870’s best known for his pursuit of the
    James-Younger gang
    which culminated in the death of the outlaw Jesse James.

James Poindexter Timberlake came to Tennessee in the
early 1800’s.  His line extended down to Charles Timberlake, a
Baptist minister in the Shelby Falls community just north of Memphis, and his grandson the singer Justin Timberlake who grew up in that vicinity.

Timberlake Names

  • Philip Timberlake was a prolific 20th century American entomologist  (studier of insects).    
  • Justin Timberlake is a popular American singer/songwriter who rose to fame in the early 2000’s.

Select Timberlake Numbers Today

  • 700 in the UK (most numerous
    in London)
  • 1,800 in America (most numerous in Virginia)


Select Timberlake and Like Surnames.

These are surnames which have a small number of people bearing that name but are included here – for the curiosity of the name, its history, or because of some famous person who bears that name.




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