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

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

The name Whitaker has a long Anglo-Saxon heritage. The name comes from when a family lived in one of a number of similarly-named places. The settlement of Wheatacre is in Norfolk, while Whiteacre in Waltham is in Kent; both of these names literally mean wheat-field. The place named Whitacre is in Warwickshire, while High Whitaker is in Lancashire; these names both mean white field. The surname Whitaker belongs to the large category of Anglo-Saxon habitation names, which are derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads.

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Spelling variations in names were a common occurrence before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago. In the Middle Ages, even the literate spelled their names differently as the English language incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other European languages. Many variations of the name Whitaker have been found, including Whittaker, Whittakers, Whitaker, Whitacre and others.

First found in Warwickshire where the first record of the name was of Johias Whitacre (1042-1066), who died while fighting at the Battle of Hastings on the side of King Harold. Despite the fact he was on the losing side of the battle, his family were permitted to keep their estates there. The place names Whitacre, Over Whitacre and Nether Whitacre were listed in the Domesday Book as Witacre and literally meant "white cultivated land" from the Old English words "hwit" + "aecer." [1]


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Whitaker research. Another 201 words(14 lines of text) covering the years 1300, 1375, 1548, 1595, 1586, 1580, 1646, 1640, 1622, 1695, 1659, 1661, 1679, 1642, 1715, 1695, 1696, 1701, 1702, 1660, 1735 and 1704 are included under the topic Early Whitaker History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 291 words(21 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Whitaker Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Whitaker family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 39 words(3 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Families began migrating abroad in enormous numbers because of the political and religious discontent in England. Often faced with persecution and starvation in England, the possibilities of the New World attracted many English people. Although the ocean trips took many lives, those who did get to North America were instrumental in building the necessary groundwork for what would become for new powerful nations. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America bore the name Whitaker, or a variant listed above:

Whitaker Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Alexander Whitaker, who landed in Virginia in 1617
  • Mary Whitaker, who landed in Virginia in 1622
  • George Whitaker settled in Virginia in 1638
  • Georg Whitaker, who landed in Virginia in 1638
  • Elizabeth Whitaker, who arrived in Maryland in 1678

Whitaker Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Avis Whitaker, who landed in Virginia in 1721
  • Phineas Whitaker, who landed in Virginia in 1724
  • Nathaniel Whitaker, who arrived in Maryland in 1741-1742
  • David Whitaker landed in America in 1766

Whitaker Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • John Whitaker, aged 27, landed in New York in 1812
  • Samuel Whitaker, who arrived in New York in 1824
  • William Whitaker, who landed in Texas in 1835
  • James Whitaker, aged 44, arrived in Harford County, Maryland in 1837
  • Anthony Whitaker, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1850


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  • John Orson "Johnny" Whitaker (b. 1959), American actor, best known for his childhood performance as Jody Davis on "Family Affair"
  • Norman Tweed Whitaker (1890-1975), American international chessmaster
  • Carl Whitaker (1912-1995), American psychiatrist and pioneer family therapist
  • Denzel Dominique Whitaker (b. 1990), American actor
  • Forest Steven Whitaker (b. 1961), American Academy Award, Golden Globe and BAFTA Award winning actor, producer, and director
  • Lance Whitaker (b. 1971), American bronze medalist heavyweight boxer at the 1995 Pan American Games
  • Berry M. Whitaker (1890-1984), American college football coach for the Texas Longhorns (1920-1922)
  • Pernell Whitaker (b. 1964), nicknamed "Sweet Pea," retired American professional boxer, former WBA Light Middleweight Champion
  • Louis Rodman Whitaker Jr. (1957-1977), nicknamed "Sweet Lou," American former Major League Baseball player who played from 1977 to 1995
  • Charles "Slim" Whitaker (1893-1960), American film actor who appeared in 345 films between 1914 and 1949

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  • Dr. John McCaa of Camden, South Carolina, 1793-1859, His Descendants by John McCaa.
  • Genealogy: Spaid, Anderson, Whitacre, and a Number of Allied Families by Raul Purcell Anderson.
  • Higdon-Whitaker and Allied Families by Bettina Pearson Higdon.
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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: Spes et fides
Motto Translation: Hope and faith.

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  1. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)

Other References

  1. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  2. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  3. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
  4. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
  5. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  6. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  7. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  8. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  9. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  10. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  11. ...

The Whitaker Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Whitaker 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 25 August 2014 at 11:26.

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