Silk History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms 

The history of the Silk name began with the ancient Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from the baptismal name for the son of Cecil, deriving from the nickname Sill. After the Norman Conquest, the Old English naming system gradually dissolved. Old English names became less common and were replaced by popular continental European names. The earliest surnames in England were found shortly after the Norman Conquest and are of Norman French rather than native English origins.

Early Origins of the Silk family

The surname Silk was first found in Derbyshire where they held a family seat from early times and were anciently descended from the distinguished Saxon family who held a family seat there well before the Norman Conquest. The name is derived from a colloquial term in Derbyshire about the year 1000 describing a thrush, i.e. a "shrilcock" or "shilcock."

Important Dates for the Silk family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Silk research. Another 111 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1200, 1283, 1379, and 1781 are included under the topic Early Silk History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Silk Spelling Variations

Sound was what guided spelling in the essentially pre-literate Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Also, before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Therefore, spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Silk family name include Silcock, Silcocks, Silcox, Sylcox, Sylcock, Shilcock, Shrilcox, Shrilcocks, Silk and many more.

Early Notables of the Silk family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Silk Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Silk migration to the United States

For political, religious, and economic reasons, thousands of English families boarded ships for Ireland, the Canadas, the America colonies, and many of smaller tropical colonies in the hope of finding better lives abroad. Although the passage on the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving, those families that survived the trip often went on to make valuable contributions to those new societies to which they arrived. Early immigrants bearing the Silk surname or a spelling variation of the name include :

Silk Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Robert Silk, who landed in Virginia in 1714 [1]
  • Edward Silk, who settled in North Carolina in 1736
  • James Silk, who settled in Baltimore, Maryland in 1775
Silk Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Esther Silk, who arrived in Baltimore in 1834
  • James Silk, who arrived in New York in 1835
  • John Silk, who landed in Harford County, Maryland in 1860 [1]
  • Mrs. William Silk, who arrived in Iowa in 1870 [1]
  • Peter Silk, who arrived in St Clair County, Illinois in 1881 [1]

Silk migration to Canada

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Silk Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Michael Silk, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1774
  • Mr. Daily Silk U.E. who settled in Edwardsburgh-Cardinal, Leeds & Grenville, Ontario c. 1786 he served in the Loyal Rangers [2]
  • Daily Silk, who settled in Canada in 1796
Silk Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • William Silk, aged 18, a farmer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the schooner "Jane" from Galway, Ireland

Silk migration to Australia

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Silk Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Henry Oake Silk, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Winchester" in 1838 [3]

Silk migration to New Zealand

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Silk Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • F. Silk, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Ashburton" in 1857
  • E. Silk, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Ashburton" in 1857
  • Miss Ellen Silk, (b. 1846), aged 20, British domestic servant travelling from Gravesend, UK aboard the ship "Bombay" arriving in Lyttelton, South Island, New Zealand on 18th August 1866 [4]
  • John Silk, aged 17, who arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand aboard the ship "Apelles" in 1874
  • Martin Silk, aged 14, who arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand aboard the ship "Apelles" in 1874
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Silk (post 1700)

  • Joseph Ivor Silk, American Savilian Chair of Astronomy at the University of Oxford
  • Dennis Raoul Whitehall Silk CBE (b. 1931), American-born, English cricketer
  • Lieutenant Colonel Edward A. Silk (1916-1955), United States Army officer and recipient of the Medal of Honor
  • Gary Silk (b. 1984), English footballer
  • Private Joseph Henry Silk GC (1916-1943), British soldier posthumously awarded the George Cross for his heroic self sacrifice
  • George Silk (1916-2004), New Zealand photojournalist for Life magazine for 30 years
  • John Silk Deckard (1938-1994), American printmaker and sculptor

Historic Events for the Silk family

HMAS Sydney II
  • Mr. Stanley George Silk (1897-1941), Australian Chief Petty Officer from Sevenoaks, Kent, England, who sailed into battle aboard HMAS Sydney II and died in the sinking [5]
HMS Hood
  • Mr. Jack C R Silk (b. 1921), English Stoker 2nd Class serving for the Royal Navy from South Ealing, Middlesex, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [6]
HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. P S B Silk, British Petty Officer, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [7]

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  1. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  2. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  3. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) WINCHESTER 1838. Retrieved from
  4. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from
  5. ^ HMAS Sydney II, Finding Sydney Foundation - Roll of Honour. (Retrieved 2014, April 24) . Retrieved from
  6. ^ H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from
  7. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from
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