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

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

The Anglo-Saxon name Sykes comes from the family having resided in the county of Cumberland. Sykes is a topographic surname, which was given to a person who resided near a physical feature such as a hill, stream, church, or type of tree. During the Middle Ages, as society became more complex, individuals needed a way to be distinguishable from others. Toponymic surnames were developed as a result of this need. Various features in the area or landscape were used to distinguish people from one another. In this case the original bearers of the surname Sykes were named due to their close proximity to a marshy stream or damp gully. The surname was originally derived from Sikes-Dyke near Carlisle in Cumberland.


Sykes has been spelled many different ways, including Before English spelling became standardized over the last few hundred years, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. As the English language changed in the Middle Ages, absorbing pieces of Latin and French, as well as other languages, the spelling of people's names also changed considerably, even over a single lifetime. Sikes, Sykes, Sykkes, Sikkes, Syks, Siks, Sike and many more.

First found in Cumberland where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Sykes research. Another 310 words(22 lines of text) covering the years 1684 and 1756 are included under the topic Early Sykes History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 20 words(1 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Sykes Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


In an attempt to escape the chaos experienced in England, many English families boarded overcrowded and diseased ships sailing for the shores of North America and other British colonies. Those families hardy enough, and lucky enough, to make the passage intact were rewarded with land and a social environment less prone to religious and political persecution. Many of these families became important contributors to the young colonies in which they settled. Early immigration and passenger lists have documented some of the first Sykess to arrive on North American shores:

Sykes Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • John Sykes settled in Virginia in 1642
  • Jon Sykes, who arrived in Virginia in 1642
  • Thomas Sykes settled in Barbados in 1672
  • John Sykes, who arrived in Maryland in 1673
  • Bernard Sykes, who landed in Virginia in 1682

Sykes Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Samuel Sykes, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1844
  • Abram Sykes, who arrived in Alabama in 1858
  • William Sykes, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1868


  • Roosevelt Sykes (1906-1983), American blues musician
  • Paul Sykes (1937-1994), American folksinger
  • Colonel Sir Mark Sykes (1879-1919), 6th Baronet, an English traveler, Conservative Party politician
  • Colonel William Henry Sykes FRS (1790-1872), English-born, Indian Army officer, politician and ornithologist
  • Paul Sykes (b. 1981), English professional rugby league footballer
  • John James Sykes (b. 1959), English rock guitarist
  • Paul Sykes (1946-2007), English heavyweight boxer
  • Paul Sykes (b. 1943), English Eurosceptic businessman and political donor
  • Paul Sykes (b. 1981), English rugby league footballer
  • Eric Sykes CBE (1923-2012), English radio, television and film writer, actor and director, best known for his work on The Goon Show, recipient of the 1992 Lifetime Achievement Award



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: Sapiens qui assiduus
Motto Translation: He is wise who is industrious.


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  1. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  2. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
  3. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  4. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  5. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  6. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  7. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  8. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  9. Crispin, M. Jackson and Leonce Mary. Falaise Roll Recording Prominent Companions of William Duke of Normandy at the Conquest of England. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  10. Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X).
  11. ...

The Sykes Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Sykes 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 6 October 2014 at 12:42.

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