Show ContentsBeaks 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 Beaks 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 Beaks is a nickname for a person with a prominent nose. Looking back further, we find the name Beaks 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 Beaks family

The surname Beaks 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 Beaks family

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

Beaks 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 Beaks family

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 Beaks Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Beaks family to Ireland

Some of the Beaks 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 Beaks migration to the United States +

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

Beaks Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • William Beaks, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1682 2
Beaks Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Julian Beaks, who arrived in New Orleans, La in 1825 2
  • John Charles Beaks, who landed in New York, NY in 1836 2
  • Mrs. Beaks, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1855 2

  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) on Facebook