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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Where did the English Drake family come from? What is the English Drake family crest and coat of arms? When did the Drake family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Drake family history?

Drake is a name whose history dates far back into the mists of early British times to the days of the Anglo-Saxon tribes. It is a name for a a fierce, powerful person. The surname Drake is derived from the Old English word draca or from the Old Danish word draki, which both mean dragon. Although these words became the Old English word drake, which also means male duck, and the surname Drake may have also been applied to someone who had a duck-like gait.


The English language only became standardized in the last few centuries; therefore, spelling variations are common among early Anglo-Saxon names. As the form of the English language changed, even the spelling of literate people's names evolved. Drake has been recorded under many different variations, including Drake, Drakes, Draike, Drayke, Draykes, Draikes and others.

First found in Hampshire where they held a family seat from ancient times. The surname comes from the Anglo-Saxon word "draca" which means a dragon or sea serpent. Soon after the Norman invasion in 1066 the name made its appearance in the Isle of Wight and Hampshire area in the south of England. Leuing Drache, who spelled his name with an early Norman variant, held land in Hampshire at this time.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Drake research. Another 419 words(30 lines of text) covering the years 1185, 1205, 1273, 1303, 1581, 1581, 1660, 1700, 1540, 1596, 1588, 1637, 1625, 1629, 1617, 1662, 1646, 1662, 1608, 1669, 1625, 1669, 1660 and are included under the topic Early Drake History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 245 words(18 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Drake Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Drake family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 157 words(11 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


For many English families, the political and religious disarray that shrouded England made the far away New World an attractive prospect. On cramped disease-ridden ships, thousands migrated to those British colonies that would eventually become Canada and the United States. Those hardy settlers that survived the journey often went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Drake or a variant listed above:

Drake Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • Thomas Drake who landed in Massachusetts in 1620
  • Elizabeth Drake settled in Nantasket Massachusetts in 1630
  • John Drake, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1630
  • Isack Drake, aged 25, landed in St Christopher in 1635
  • Jo Drake, aged 18, landed in St Christopher in 1635

Drake Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Richd Drake, who arrived in Virginia in 1701
  • Margaret Drake, who landed in Virginia in 1724
  • Samuel Drake, who landed in Virginia in 1735
  • Hannah Drake, who landed in Virginia in 1751

Drake Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • William Drake, who landed in America in 1809
  • Sam A Drake, who arrived in America in 1810
  • Henry Drake, who arrived in New York, NY in 1811
  • Daniel Drake, who arrived in Mobile County, Ala in 1842
  • Francis Drake, who arrived in Mobile County, Ala in 1844


  • Frank Drake (b. 1930), American astronomer and astrophysicist who developed the Drake equation
  • George Burton Drake (1876-1942), American landscape painter and minister
  • Joseph Rodman Drake, American poet
  • Sir James Drake, American Director of Leonard Fairclough Ltd
  • Edwin Laurentine "Colonel" Drake (1819-1890), American oil pioneer
  • Samuel Gardner Drake (1798-1875), American antiquarian
  • Brigadier-General Charles Chisholm Drake (1887-1984), American Executive Assistant to the Quartermaster-General (1946)
  • Bill Drake (1937-2008), born Philip Yarbrough, American radio programmer who co-developed the Boss Radio format
  • Alfred George Drake (1893-1915), English recipient of the Victoria Cross
  • Sir Francis Drake (1540-1596), legendary English privateer, navigator, slaver, best remembered as the first person to circumnavigate the world



  • The Alford-Drake Family of Middle Tennessee, With Ancestors, Descendants, and Allied Families by Naomi M. Hailey.
  • Descendants of Jesse Shelton and Some Related Families: Drake, Foster, Gibson, Hamby, Keele, Martin by Cecil and Louise Shelton.

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Aquila non captat muscas
Motto Translation: The eagle is no fly-catcher.


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  1. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  2. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
  3. Lennard, Reginald. Rural England 1086-1135 A Study of Social and Agrarian Conditions. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959. Print.
  4. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  5. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  6. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  7. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  8. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  9. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  10. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  11. ...

The Drake Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Drake Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 18 June 2014 at 19:50.

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