Drake History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Drake is a name whose history dates far back into the mists of early British times to the days of the Anglo-Saxon tribes. It is a name for a a fierce, powerful person. The surname Drake is derived from the Old English word draca or from the Old Danish word draki, which both mean dragon. [1]

The name is "not from the waterfowl, but from Anglo-Saxon draca (Latin draco,) a dragon. Le Dragun, the Anglo-Norman form, occurs in the Hundredorum Rolls, but the nearest approach to this that I have seen in modem times is Drago, a name which existed at Ely about a century since. Several families of Drake bear as arms the wyvern, or two-legged dragon; and it is worthy of remark that in giving to various pieces of cannon the names of monsters and animals of prey, that of ' drake' was assigned to a peculiar species of gun, as those of caliver, basilisk, culverin, fawconet, saker-all appellations of serpents and rapacious birds-were to others. The compounds, "fire-drake," and "hell-drake," become intelligible when the latter syllable is understood to mean, not the harmless and familiar denizen of the pool, but the ' fell dragoun ' of medieval romance. " [2]

"The drake gules (red) was the cognizance of the ancient family of Drake of Ashe, near Axminster. In this instance it is probable that the armorial bearing was occasioned by the name, and that some legend lay behind the name. Sir Francis Drake, the navigator, assumed the arms, though he could establish no relationship, and a contest of words ensued in the presence of Queen Elizabeth between Sir Bernard Drake of Ashe and the sailor.

'Well,' said the Queen, 'I will settle the dispute. Sir Francis shall bear on his coat a ship carrying reversed on its flag the wyvern gules.'

Eventually, unwilling to mortify so worthy a man as Sir Bernard, she granted to Sir Francis an entirely different coat." [3]

Early Origins of the Drake family

The surname Drake was first found in Hampshire where they held a family seat from ancient times. The surname comes from the Anglo-Saxon word "draca" which means a dragon or sea serpent. Soon after the Norman invasion in 1066 the name made its appearance in the Isle of Wight and Hampshire area in the south of England.

Leuing Drache, who spelled his name with an early Norman variant, held land in Hampshire at this time.

The parish of Musbury, Devon played an important part in the family's early lineage. "This place was the residence of the Drake family, from the time of Henry VII., for several generations. The church is a very ancient structure, with a south aisle added towards the close of the fifteenth century, by the Drake family, to whom it contains some monuments. Ash House, now occupied as a farmhouse, derives interest from having been the birthplace, in 1650, of the renowned Duke of Marlborough, whose mother was then on a visit to her father, Sir John Drake." [4]

And over in Yarcombe, again in Devon, another branch of the family was found. "It comprises about 5000 acres, and is the property of Sir H. F. T. S. Drake, to whose ancestor, Sir Francis, one moiety of the manor was granted by Queen Elizabeth." [4]

The famed Sir Francis Drake held estates in the parish of Meavy in Devon and remains of his ancient mansion can still be seen today. [4] "It was from Plymouth that Drake sailed in 1572 on his expedition to Nombre de Dios. When he returned one Sunday in August in the following year, the news reached St. Andrew Church while the people were assembled in worship, and straightway the preacher was deserted and the good folks ran to the seaside to welcome their hero home." [5]

Early History of the Drake family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Drake research. Another 210 words (15 lines of text) covering the years 1185, 1205, 1273, 1303, 1581, 1581, 1660, 1700, 1540, 1596, 1588, 1637, 1625, 1629, 1617, 1662, 1646, 1662, 1608, 1669, 1625, 1669, 1660 and are included under the topic Early Drake History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Drake Spelling Variations

The English language only became standardized in the last few centuries; therefore, spelling variations are common among early Anglo-Saxon names. As the form of the English language changed, even the spelling of literate people's names evolved. Drake has been recorded under many different variations, including Drake, Drakes, Draike, Drayke, Draykes, Draikes and others.

Early Notables of the Drake family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include Sir Francis Drake, Vice Admiral (1540-1596), an English sea captain, privateer, navigator, slaver, a renowned pirate, and politician, according to Forbes, he was the second highest earning pirate who had a wealth of over 115 million in today's dollars; Sir Francis Drake, 1st Baronet (1588-1637), an English politician who sat in the House of Commons in two parliaments between...
Another 64 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Drake Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Drake World Ranking

In the United States, the name Drake is the 458th most popular surname with an estimated 62,175 people with that name. [6] However, in Newfoundland, Canada, the name Drake is ranked the 327th most popular surname with an estimated 141 people with that name. [7] And in Australia, the name Drake is the 960th popular surname with an estimated 4,125 people with that name. [8] New Zealand ranks Drake as 540th with 1,296 people. [9] The United Kingdom ranks Drake as 686th with 9,685 people. [10]

Ireland Migration of the Drake family to Ireland

Some of the Drake family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 84 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Drake migration to the United States +

For many English families, the political and religious disarray that shrouded England made the far away New World an attractive prospect. On cramped disease-ridden ships, thousands migrated to those British colonies that would eventually become Canada and the United States. Those hardy settlers that survived the journey often went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Drake or a variant listed above:

Drake Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Thomas Drake who landed in Massachusetts in 1620
  • Elizabeth Drake, who settled in Nantasket Massachusetts in 1630
  • John Drake, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1630 [11]
  • Mr. Drake settled at Hingham Massachusetts in 1635
  • Elizabeth Drake, who settled in Virginia in 1636
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Drake Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Richard Drake, who arrived in Virginia in 1701 [11]
  • Margaret Drake, who landed in Virginia in 1724 [11]
  • Samuel Drake, who landed in Virginia in 1735 [11]
  • Hannah Drake, who landed in Virginia in 1751 [11]
Drake Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • William Drake, who landed in America in 1809 [11]
  • Sam A Drake, who arrived in America in 1810 [11]
  • Henry Drake, who arrived in New York, NY in 1811 [11]
  • Daniel Drake, who arrived in Mobile County, Ala in 1842 [11]
  • Francis Drake, who arrived in Mobile County, Ala in 1844 [11]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Drake migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Drake Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Francis Drake, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1749
  • Elis Drake, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Francis William Drake, who settled in St. John's Newfoundland in 1760 [12]
  • Mr. William Draper U.E. (b. 1745) born in Killingly, Connecticut, USA who settled in Canada c. 1781 [13]
  • Mr. Joseph Drake U.E. who arrived at Port Roseway [Shelburne], Nova Scotia on October 26, 1783 was passenger number 38 aboard the ship "HMS Clinton", picked up on September 20, 1783 at East River, New York [13]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Drake Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • William Drake, aged 23, who landed in Canada in 1823
  • Isaac Drake, who arrived in Canada in 1828
  • John Drake, who landed in Canada in 1841
  • Albee Drake, who arrived in Canada in 1841
  • Robert Drake, who landed in Esquimalt, British Columbia in 1862

Australia Drake migration to Australia +

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

Drake Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John Drake, British Convict who was convicted in Middlesex, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Coromandel" on 4th December 1803, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [14]
  • Miss Mary Ann Drake, (b. 1787), aged 23, English laundress who was convicted in Suffolk, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Canada" in March 1810, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, she died in 1837 [15]
  • Mr. William Drake, British Convict who was convicted in Louth, Lincolnshire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Commodore Hayes" in April 1823, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [16]
  • John Drake, a glass-cutter, who arrived in Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania) sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • Mr. Benjamin Drake, English convict who was convicted in Essex, England for 14 years, transported aboard the "Aurora" on 18th June 1835, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [17]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Drake 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:

Drake Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Thomas John Drake, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840 aboard the ship Aurora
  • Thomas John Drake, aged 26, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Aurora" in 1840
  • Ceres Selina Drake, aged 27, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Aurora" in 1840
  • Ceres Drake, aged 1, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Aurora" in 1840
  • James C Drake, who landed in Nelson, New Zealand in 1842 aboard the ship Fifeshire
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

West Indies Drake migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [18]
Drake Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Diana Drake, who settled in Barbados in 1635
  • Isaac Drake, who settled in St. Christopher (Saint Kitts) in 1635
  • Diana Drake, aged 19, who arrived in Barbados in 1635 [11]
  • Isack Drake, aged 25, who landed in St Christopher in 1635 [11]
  • Jo Drake, aged 18, who landed in St Christopher in 1635 [11]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Drake (post 1700) +

  • Leta Powell Drake (1938-2021), American broadcaster, television producer, screenwriter and television personality on local stations in Nebraska
  • Solomon Louis "Solly" Drake (1930-2021), American professional baseball outfielder who played in Major League Baseball (MLB) with the Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Philadelphia Phillies during the 1956 and 1959 baseball seasons
  • Darryl Drake (1956-2019), American football player and coach
  • Thomas Edwin "Tom" Drake (1930-2017), American attorney, professional wrestler and politician, Speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives (1983-1987)
  • Larry Richard Drake (1949-2016), American actor, voice artist, and comedian
  • Jack E. Drake (1934-2015), American politician, Member of the Iowa House of Representatives (1993-2003) and (2003-2013)
  • Ervin Drake (1919-2015), born Ervin Maurice Druckman, an American songwriter, best known for his songs "I Believe" and "It Was a Very Good Year"
  • Bill Drake (1937-2008), born Philip Yarbrough, American radio programmer who co-developed the Boss Radio format
  • Edwin Laurentine "Colonel" Drake (1819-1890), American oil pioneer credited with being the first to drill for oil in the United States
  • Brigadier-General Charles Chisholm Drake (1887-1984), American Executive Assistant to the Quartermaster-General (1946) [19]
  • ... (Another 98 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Halifax Explosion
  • Mr. William Leonard  Drake (1897-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [20]
HMAS Sydney II
  • Mr. John Richardson Drake (1919-1941), Australian Stoker from Altona, Victoria, Australia, who sailed into battle aboard HMAS Sydney II and died in the sinking [21]
  • Mr. Albert Reginald Drake (1916-1941), Australian Able Seaman from St. Kilda, Victoria, Australia, who sailed into battle aboard HMAS Sydney II and died in the sinking [21]
HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. Alfred C Drake, British Leading Telegraphist, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [22]
RMS Lusitania
  • Mr. Bernard Audley Mervyn Drake, English 1st Class Passenger residing in Detroit, Michigan, USA, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking [23]


The Drake Motto +

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: Aquila non captat muscas
Motto Translation: The eagle is no fly-catcher.


Suggested Readings for the name Drake +

  • The Alford-Drake Family of Middle Tennessee, With Ancestors, Descendants, and Allied Families by Naomi M. Hailey.
  • Descendants of Jesse Shelton and Some Related Families: Drake, Foster, Gibson, Hamby, Keele, Martin by Cecil and Louise Shelton.

  1. ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  2. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  3. ^ Baring-Gould S., Family Names and their Story. London: Seeley, Service & Co. Limited, 1913. Print
  4. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  5. ^ Worth, R.N., A History of Devonshire London: Elliot Stock, 62, Paternoster Row, E.G., 1895. Digital
  6. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  7. ^ The order of Common Surnames in 1955 in Newfoundland retrieved on 20th October 2021 (retrieved from Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland by E.R. Seary corrected edition ISBN 0-7735-1782-0)
  8. ^ https://forebears.io/australia/surnames
  9. ^ https://forebears.io/new-zealand/surnames
  10. ^ https://www.surnamemap.eu/unitedkingdom/surnames_ranking.php?p=10
  11. ^ 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)
  12. ^ Seary E.R., Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland, Montreal: McGill's-Queen's Universtity Press 1998 ISBN 0-7735-1782-0
  13. ^ 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
  14. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 22nd March 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/coromandel-and-experiment
  15. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 9th December 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/canada
  16. ^ Convict Records of Australia (Retrieved 4th March 2021, retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/commodore-hayes)
  17. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 20th August 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/aurora
  18. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  19. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2012, January 24) Charles Drake. Retrieved from http://generals.dk/general/Drake/Charles_Chisholm/USA.html
  20. ^ Halifax Explosion Book of Remembrance | Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. (Retrieved 2014, June 23) . Retrieved from https://maritimemuseum.novascotia.ca/what-see-do/halifax-explosion/halifax-explosion-book-remembrance
  21. ^ HMAS Sydney II, Finding Sydney Foundation - Roll of Honour. (Retrieved 2014, April 24) . Retrieved from http://www.findingsydney.com/roll.asp
  22. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html
  23. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 6) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/


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