Show ContentsFoulkes History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The old Welsh surname Foulkes comes from the popular personal name Fulk. This forename of Norman origin originally came from one of a number of Germanic personal names with the first portion "folk-," which means "people."

Early Origins of the Foulkes family

The surname Foulkes was first found in Denbighshire (Welsh: Sir Ddinbych), a historic county in Northeast Wales, created by the Laws in Wales Act 1536, where they held a family seat at "Yr Eifiad" from very ancient times, some say before the 9th century.

Another source notes "the pedigree is deduced from Marchudd ap Cynan, lord of Brynffenigi, who flourished in the ninth century. The name appears to have been borrowed from Ffoulk ap Thomas, who lived early in the sixteenth century, and whose descendants have ever since borne it." 1 And that "an early form of a capital F was ff." 2

Sir Martin Browne ffolkes, 1st Baronet, FRS (1749-1821) was an English Baronet and Member of Parliament. Son of William Folkes, he chose to revert his name back to the ffolkes spelling to better note his heritage. The Baronetcy continues to today using the same spelling with Sir Robert Francis Alexander ffolkes, 7th Baronet (born 1943.)

Early History of the Foulkes family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Foulkes research. Another 92 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1290, 1660, 1661, 1676, 1678, 1679, 1691 and 1747 are included under the topic Early Foulkes History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Foulkes Spelling Variations

Welsh surnames are relatively few in number, but they have an inordinately large number of spelling variations. There are many factors that explain the preponderance of Welsh variants, but the earliest is found during the Middle Ages when Welsh surnames came into use. Scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, which often resulted in a single person's name being inconsistently recorded over his lifetime. The transliteration of Welsh names into English also accounts for many of the spelling variations: the unique Brythonic Celtic language of the Welsh had many sounds the English language was incapable of accurately reproducing. It was also common for members of a same surname to change their names slightly, in order to signify a branch loyalty within the family, a religious adherence, or even patriotic affiliations. For all of these reasons, the many spelling variations of particular Welsh names are very important. The surname Foulkes has occasionally been spelled Foulke, Foulks, Foulkes and others.

Early Notables of the Foulkes family

Prominent amongst the family during the late Middle Ages was

  • William Foulkes (died 1691), a Welsh cleric and writer, Rector of Cwm in Denbighshire in 1660, of Llanfyllin and of Llanbrynmair in 1661, positions he held until his death
  • Peter Foulkes (1676-1747), was a scholar and divine, was the third son of Robert Foulkes of Llechryd, Denbighshire, deputy Baron of the court of exchequer of Chester. 3
  • On the infamous side, Robert Foulkes (d. 1679) was a vicar of Stanton Lacy in Shropshire. "He seduced a young lady who resided with him, took a lodging for her in York Buildings in the Strand, and the...

United States Foulkes migration to the United States +

In the 1800s and 1900s, many Welsh families left for North America, in search of land, work, and freedom. Those who made the trip successfully helped contribute to the growth of industry, commerce, and the cultural heritage of both Canada and the United States. In the immigration and passenger lists were a number of people bearing the name Foulkes

Foulkes Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • George Foulkes, who settled in Virginia in 1739
Foulkes Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Foulkes, who landed in America in 1857 4
  • A. H. Foulkes settled in San Francisco, California in 1864
  • John Foulkes, who settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1868
  • Robert Foulkes, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1872 4

Australia Foulkes migration to Australia +

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

Foulkes Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Edward Foulkes, Welsh convict who was convicted in Flint, Flintshire, Wales for life, transported aboard the "Baring" in December 1818, arriving in New South Wales, Australia 5
  • Mr. Thomas Foulkes, British Convict who was convicted in Chester, Cheshire, England for 14 years, transported aboard the "Dunvegan Castle" on 13th March 1830, arriving in New South Wales, Australia 6
  • Hugh Foulkes, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Buckinghamshire" in 1839 7
  • Ann Foulkes, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Buckinghamshire" in 1839 7
  • Ellen Foulkes, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Buckinghamshire" in 1839 7
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Foulkes 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:

Foulkes Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Thomas Foulkes, (b. 1815), aged 35, British house servant travelling from London aboard the ship "Randolph" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand in September 1850 8

Contemporary Notables of the name Foulkes (post 1700) +

  • George Ernest Foulkes (1878-1960), American Democratic Party politician, U.S. Representative from Michigan 4th District, 1933-35; Defeated, 1934 9
  • Sir George Foulkes (b. 1942), Baron Foulkes of Cumnock, member of the House of Lords and former MP
  • Kenneth Foulkes (1944-2022), English professional rugby league footballer who played for Castleford (1962-1965), and Hull F.C. (1964-1978)
  • William Anthony "Bill" Foulkes (1932-2013), English footballer an team manager, active in the sport from 1950 through 1985
  • Reverend Henry Foulkes, Principal of Jesus College in Oxford in 1827
  • General Charles Foulkes (1903-1969), Canadian soldier, Chief of the General Staff, first Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff, Companion of the Order of Canada
  • Major General Thomas Herbert Fischer Foulkes,
  • Nigel Gordon Foulkes, Chairman, British Airports Authority
  • Raul Alfonsin Foulkes (b. 1927), Argentine politician

HMAS Sydney II
RMS Lusitania

The Foulkes 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: Jure, non dono
Motto Translation: By right, not by gift.

  1. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  3. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  4. 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)
  5. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 16th September 2020). Retrieved from
  6. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 12th August 2021). Retrieved from
  7. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) BUCKINGHAMSHIRE 1839. Retrieved from
  8. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from
  9. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 4) . Retrieved from
  10. HMAS Sydney II, Finding Sydney Foundation - Roll of Honour. (Retrieved 2014, April 24) . Retrieved from
  11. Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 10) . Retrieved from on Facebook