Show ContentsBeak History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

As a result of the frequent commercial intercourse between the Flemish and English nations, many Flemish migrants settled in Britain. The Beak 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 Beak is a nickname for a person with a prominent nose. Looking back further, we find the name Beak 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.

Early Origins of the Beak family

The surname Beak was 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.

"The lordship of Eresby, in Lincolnshire, was settled by William the Conqueror, with other manors, upon Walter de Bec, one of the most distinguished knights at Hastings. By Agnes, his wife, daughter and heiress of Hugh Dapifer, Walter left, with other issue, a son, Henry Beke, of Eresby, great great grandfather of Walter Beke, whose three sons were John, Lord Beke, of Eresby; Anthony, Bishop of Durham, Patriarch of Jerusalem; and Thomas, Bishop of St. David's. Of these, the eldest, John, Lord Beke, died in 1302, leaving one son, Walter, who had no issue, and two daughters - Alice, married to Sir William de Willoughby, Knt., ancestor, by her, of the present Lord Willoughby de Eresby; and Margaret, married to Sir Richard de Harcourt, progenitor of the Earls of Harcourt. Anthony Beke, the famous Bishop of Durham, was one of the most illustrious men in history. Amongst his other works, he founded the collegiate churches of Chester and Lancester, as well as the chapel at Bishop Auckland, all in the country palatine of Durham." [1]

Early History of the Beak family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Beak research. Another 48 words (3 lines of text) covering the years 1630, 1707, 1656, 1659, 1689, 1690, 1695, 1698, 1708, 1654 and 1659 are included under the topic Early Beak History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Beak Spelling Variations

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.

Early Notables of the Beak family (pre 1700)

Prominent in the family at this time was Baron Beeke of Eresby in Kent; Richard Beke (1630-1707), of Westminster and Ford, Dinton, Buckinghamshire, an English politician, Member of Parliament for Elgin and Nairn in...
Another 34 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Beak Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Beak family to Ireland

Some of the Beak family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Beak migration to the United States +

Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Beak or a variant listed above:

Beak Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • William Beak, who arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1621 [2]
  • Lyonell Beak, who arrived in Virginia in 1650 [2]
  • Ninian Beak, who arrived in Maryland in 1652 [2]
  • Winan Beak, who landed in Maryland in 1658 [2]
  • Tho Beak, who arrived in Virginia in 1658 [2]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Beak Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Alice Beak, who landed in Virginia in 1701 [2]
  • William Beak, who landed in Virginia in 1702 [2]
  • John Beak, who settled in Annapolis in 1758
Beak Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Charles Beak, who arrived in New York in 1847 [2]

Australia Beak migration to Australia +

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

Beak Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. William Beak, English convict who was convicted in Middlesex, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Eliza" on 13th July 1822, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [3]

Contemporary Notables of the name Beak (post 1700) +

  • Robert Michael Cawthorn Beak OBE (1925-2018), English Anglican bishop, Rector of Heanton (1970-1984), Honorary assistant bishop, Diocese of Derby (1991-2018)
  • Major General Daniel Marcus William Beak VC, DSO, MC & Bar (1891-1967), British Army officer from Southampton, recipient of the Victoria Cross

  1. Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.
  2. 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)
  3. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 15th February 2022). Retrieved from on Facebook