Tucker Surname Genealogy

The name Tucker, like the names Walker and Fuller, comes from the wool
trade. The Walkers and Fullers would beat the wool cloth to make
it softer. The Tuckers refined the cloth to give it fluffiness
and body.
Linguistically, Tucker comes from the German tucher, meaning cloth-weaver.
This name passed onto Flemish wool-traders who may have brought it with
them to Devon. Tucker/Tukker has been a long-established surname in Holland.
Another origin of this name has been mooted in Devon.  A
family was granted lands there after the Norman Conquest. Some
have suggested that they brought the name Tucker with them (originally
Touker from the French tout couer or all heart).

The Tucker surname may also have Jewish or Irish origins.

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England. The wool
was an important medieval industry in Devon and an important source of
finance. The
nursery rhyme Baa Baa Black Sheep
is thought to have originated in Devon in the 1270’s. The rhyme

“Three bags full:
One for the master (the landowner)
One for the dame (the countess of Devon)
And one for the little boy
Who lives down the lane (the English Parliament – down the lane =

The Tucker surname started to appear in Devon villages such as
Stockland and Throwleigh in the late 1400’s. There was a Tuckers’
Hall in Exeter which served
as a focal point and market for the town. Robert Tucker was
mayor of Exeter in 1543. He was said “to have discharged the
office with great honor and entertained the Spanish ambassador and his
whole retinue at his own house with great cost for the space of three
days.” His family later moved to Coryton Park near Tavistock.

Many Tuckers were seafarers and took
part in the attack on the Spanish Armada in 1588. From Throwleigh
came the merchant/adventurer George Tucker. He was granted lands
in Kent in Elizabethan times. Today, Tucker is still a
common name in Devon and is to be found as well in neighboring counties
such as Dorset, Somerset, and Wiltshire. The 19th century
naval Tuckers came from Trematon Castle in Cornwall.

Bermuda. George Tucker
was a member of the Virginia company. But Bermuda was the main
port of call for this family. Dan Tucker, reputedly a
cantankerous man, was its first governor. Later Tuckers featured
in American Independence.
Thomas Tudor Tucker moved to
fought in the Revolutionary War, and became that country’s Treasurer in
1801. St. George Tucker also settled in America and was an
esteemed statesman and lawyer there in the early years of the new

In Bermuda, the Tucker home at St. Georges has been
preserved as a museum. And this Tucker dynasty continued well
into the 20th century. Sir Henry Tucker founded the United
Bermuda Party and became the first elected leader of the country in

America. There were
Tucker immigrants into Massachusetts – such as Robert and Henry Tucker
descendants included the Rev. William Jewett Tucker, a President
of Dartmouth College – but more into Virginia.

Captain William
Tucker was among the survivors at Jamestown in 1623. One Tucker
migrated to South Carolina and then settled in Tennessee. Other
moved to Georgia and Louisiana and later to Texas. Tuckers
owned plantations and slaves in the south, the Litchfield plantation in
South Carolina and the Cottonwood plantation in Louisiana for
example. The slave song Old Dan
became hugely popular in the
19th century (said to be after the Rev. Daniel Tucker who
operated Tucker’s ferry in rural Georgia).

African American.
William Tucker is believed to have been the first African American
slave born in America. He was born in Jamestown in 1624 and took
name of the English sea captain who had bought him. Today’s
Tuckers include a sizeable number of African Americans:

  • Rosina Tucker, a daughter of slaves, had been an
    early campaigner for civil and workers’ rights in the 1930’s. In
    after decades of obscurity, she became a celebrity. At the age of
    she narrated the award-winning TV documentary, Miles of Smiles, Years
    of Struggle
  • while the actor Chris Tucker has traced his family
    back to Flat Rock in
    Georgia and a community founded by freed slaves after the Civil
    DNA testing in 2007 showed that his original roots lay with the Mbundu
    tribe in Angola.

John Tucker was a
slave trader active out of West Africa in the 1660’s. He married
a Sherbro princess and they had many children. These Sherbro
Tuckers became a powerful clan in what is now Sierra Leone (their
history was traced in Peter Tucker’s 1997 book The Tuckers of Sierra Leone).
their European connection is all but gone, they are still very
westernized in their dress and behavior.

India. Sarah Tucker never
visited India. However, it was this woman in a wheelchair in
England who n 1895 raised the funds for the first women’s college in
southern India. Sarah Tucker College still thrives.

New Zealand. William
Tucker who started life down under as a convict shipped out to New
Zealand in 1809 and was later the first European to settle in
Dunedin. He was New Zealand’s first art dealer too, although with
the dubious distinction of trading human heads.

Edward Tucker and his family from Cornwall were early settlers at New
Plymouth, NI in 1841. William Tucker, born in Auckland in 1843,
prospered as a land developer at Gisborne on the east coast. It
was said:

“Like many of his generation, he
related well to his Maori friends, spoke their language, and fathered a
Maori branch of the family. He had practical, moderate visions,
visions which he saw fulfilled.”

Select Tucker Miscellany

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

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George Tucker was an Elizabethan merchant adventurer granted lands in
Dan Tucker
was the first Governor of Bermuda in 1616.
Tudor Tucker
, born in
Bermuda, became Treasurer of the United States in 1801.
Tilghman Tucker was Governor of
Louisiana in the 1840’s.
Sophie Tucker, born Sophie
Kalish in Russia, was a singer and comedian, one of the most popular
entertainers in America in the early 20th century.
Rosina Tucker was an African American campaigner
for civil and workers’ rights in the 1930’s.

Sir Henry
, often called the architect of modern Bermuda, was its
first elected leader in 1968.
Tanya Tucker is a
country music
singer from Texas who had her first hit in 1972 as a teenager.

Select Tuckers Today

  • 34,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Buckinghamshire)
  • 61,000 in America (most numerous
    in Texas).
  • 23,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)




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