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

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

As a result of the frequent commercial intercourse between the Flemish and English nations, many Flemish migrants settled in Britain. The Beke history starts with such a migration. As the population grew and people traveled further afield, it became increasingly necessary to assume an additional name to differentiate between bearers of the same personal name. A broad and miscellaneous class of surnames, nickname surnames refers either directly or indirectly to a characteristic of the first person who used the name. They can describe the bearer's favored style of clothing, physical appearance, habits, or character, among other attributes. Flemish names of this type frequently feature the prefixes lile, which meant the. The surname Beke is a nickname for a person with a prominent nose. Looking back further, we find the name Beke was originally from the Old English word beke or the Old French word bec, each of which referred to the beak of a bird. Since the 11th century in England was a time of the mingling of may languages it is often difficult to tell which particular linguistic root is appropriate to a name in a given case.

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Flemish surnames are characterized by a large number of spelling variations. One reason for this is that medieval English lacked definite spelling rules. The spellings of surnames were also influenced by the official court languages, which were French and Latin. Names were rarely spelled consistently in medieval times. Scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to specific spelling rules, and people often had their names registered in several different forms throughout their lives. One of the greatest reasons for change is the linguistic uniqueness of the Flemish settlers in England, who spoke a language closely related to Dutch. The pronunciation and spelling of Flemish names were often altered to suit the tastes of English-speaking people. In many cases, the first, final, or middle syllables of surnames were eliminated. The name has been spelled Beake, Beak, Beaks, Beek, Beke, Beaker, Beakley and others.

First found in Dorset and Kent where they held a family seat from early times, and was one of the earliest of all Flemish settlers. The earliest recorded settler was Goisfred de Beche, whose original Flemish name was Van der Beke, and in east Kent the family acquired the estate of Livingsbourne, where they changed the name of the town to Beakesbourn.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Beke research. Another 95 words(7 lines of text) covering the years 1630, 1707, 1656, 1659, 1689, 1690, 1695, 1698, 1708, 1654 and 1659 are included under the topic Early Beke History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 119 words(8 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Beke Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Beke 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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Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America carried the name Beke, or a variant listed above: George William Beake who settled in Virginia in 1732; George Beaker settled in Virginia in 1663; John Beak settled in Annapolis in 1758; Magdalen Beakley settled in New England in 1745..

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  • Charles Tilstone Beke (1800-1874), English explorer


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  1. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
  2. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  3. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  4. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  5. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  6. Shirley, Evelyn Philip. Noble and Gentle Men of England Or Notes Touching The Arms and Descendants of the Ancient Knightley and Gentle Houses of England Arranged in their Respective Counties 3rd Edition. Westminster: John Bowyer Nichols and Sons, 1866. Print.
  7. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  8. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  9. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  10. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  11. ...

The Beke Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Beke 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 11 September 2013 at 09:58.

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