York Surname Genealogy

The York surname comes from the town of York, of great antiquity, in
northern England.  It was called Eboracum by the Romans.
When the Vikings captured the town in 962, they changed the name to
Yorvik. This name had become York by the 13th century.The surname would initially describe someone from York.  York and
Yorke are the main spellings.

York Resources on

York Ancestry

Yorks or
Yorkes may have come at one time from York.  There was one line
which began with Sir Richard Yorke, a successful merchant who was mayor
of York
in 1469 and again in 1482.  He was the
forebear of a colorful Yorke family

But that does not mean that
the Yorks should be in York.  Two Yorke families, possibly related
to each
other, came from the south of England:

The Wiltshire visitations of 1623 showed a Yorke family resident at
Hannington.  It is believed that Simon Yorke left
Hannington for Dover in Kent just before the onset of the Civil
War.  He became a successful merchant in Dover and was the
forebear of a famous family of lawyers, politicians, and naval

Philip’s son Philip became Lord Chancellor of England and Lord
Hardwicke.  Cousin William became Chief Justice of the Irish
Common Pleas.  Philip’s son Charles was also made Lord Chancellor
and Philip’s other sons were an MP, a diplomat, and a bishop.
From son Charles came Sir Joseph Yorke and his son Charles, both
British naval commanders.

The Yorke spelling had
generally given way to York by the 19th century.  Yorks by that
time had
become mainly a name of the English Midlands, with a particular
in the county of Northamptonshire:

  • Yorks
    in Long Buckby went back to the 1600’s, the recorded family
    history beginning in the 1750’s.
  • Thomas York married Elizabeth Perkins at
    Yelvertoft in the late 1700’s.  
  • Henry
    York of this family
    emigrated to
    Canada in 1844.
  • while the York name was
    also to be found at Ashby St. Ledgers, Duston and Southwick in the
    county then.

America.   There were
Yorkes in Dover, England but also in Dover, America.  Richard
arrived in Dover, New Hampshire as early as 1635.

Jeremiah York, recently
widowed, came to Chester county, Pennsylvania from Buckinghamshire in
1717.  There he married again and he and
his family first migrated to Frederick county, Virginia and then to
county, North Carolina.  His son Semore, a
Tory, was
imprisoned during the Revolutionary War.
After the war, one line of these Yorks migrated to Kentucky: 

  • John and Nancy York arrived
    there in the 1780’s and settled in Fayette county  
  • and their son Bartlett who grew up there fought
    in the War of 1812. 

There were several other
Yorks in Kentucky in the early 1800’s.  One York line went from
to Arkansas and later onto Oklahoma.  James York took his family
to Texas
in 1821, settling in Austin county.  His son John fought in the
Revolution and became a famous Indian fighter.

“Captain York died in October 1848 in a battle with the
Indians who
had raided the settlement of what was to become Yorktown.  A
marker designates York’s grave seven miles from town.”

was a York line from the 1750’s in Surry county, North Carolina.  James York fought in the Revolutionary War
and his son Thomas migrated west to Tennessee.
A descendant was Sergeant Alvin York,
born in a log cabin
in Tennessee, who was the most decorated American soldier of World War

William York of Randolph county, North
Carolina also moved to Tennessee after the war.
The land lottery then drew him to Georgia.

“In 1827 the York and Philpot families,
numbering about fifty souls, traveled by ox-drawn wagons 150 miles to
settle on
the border of the Creek and Cherokee Indian nations in Carroll county,
Georgia.  At that time it was a heavily
forested wilderness.  Wolves howled at
night and wildcats, bear,
deer and turkey were found in abundance.”

son Josiah served as Constable of Carroll county and became a
prosperous farmer

Canada.  Daniel
York, born in Albany, New York of Dutch origins, was in search of new
land and crossed the border into Ontario with his family in 1806.  He ended up squatting on land in Lennox and
Addington county as he was unable to prove that he was a Loyalist
entitled to a
land grant.  His descendants have held
regular reunions since 1984. 

Henry York
emigrated to Canada from
Northamptonshire with his family in 1844.
Sadly his wife died soon after their arrival.
He did eventually remarry seven years later
and settled in St. Vincent township in Ontario.

York Miscellany

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

York Names

Philip Yorke, the 1st
Earl of Hardwicke, was an English lawyer who served as Lord Chancellor
in the 1750’s. He introduced the Marriage Act in 1753 which instituted
the calling of banns before marriage.
J.W. York was a 19th century
American musical instrument maker noted for his innovations.  His
York tuba sound is considered by most tubists to be the defining timbre
of a quality instrument.
Peter York, born Peter Wallis,
is a British style writer best known for co-authoring The
Official Sloane Ranger Handbook. 

Michael York is an English
stage and film actor.

Select Yorks Today

  • 10,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Leicestershire)
  • 18,000 in America (most numerous in Texas)
  • 4,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)



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