Greatrake History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Greatrake is a name of ancient Anglo-Saxon origin and comes from the family once having lived in an area that was referred to as the great ridge. Greatrake is a topographic surname, which was given to a person who resided near a physical feature such as a hill, stream, or in this case a ridge. [1]

Another source postulates that the name was from "Greatorick, from Gayteric, the old form of Catterick, Yorkshire, in which county the name remains common." [2]

And two sources claim the name is from Great Rocks; a hamlet, Tideswell, Derbyshire. [3] [4] This latter source dives into more detail: "the Derbyshire name of Greatorex is evidently derived from Great Rocks, a hamlet in the parish of Wormhill. Greatrix and Gratrix are now Lancashire forms of the name." [4]

And yet another source claims the name is from Greterakes, a place name in the Domesday Book of 1086. [5]

Early Origins of the Greatrake family

The surname Greatrake was first found in Essex where Augustine Brandon and Elizabeth Greatracks, of Westham, Essex married in 1382. [6]

Early History of the Greatrake family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Greatrake research. Another 90 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1647, 1659, 1697, 1743, 1625, 1675, 1712, 1629, 1683, 1629, 1628, 1683 and 1666 are included under the topic Early Greatrake History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Greatrake 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 Greatrake family name include Gratrix, Greatrix, Greatrex, Great-Rex, Greatorix, Greatorex and many more.

Early Notables of the Greatrake family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include Ralph Greatorex (c.1625-1675), an English mathematical instrument maker and apprentice of London clockmaker Elias Allen, his name appears in Pepys's Diary. His date of death is uncertain as the Dictionary of National Biography claims he died as late as 1712. Valentine Greatrakes (1629-1683), whose name...
Another 50 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Greatrake Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Greatrake family to Ireland

Some of the Greatrake family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 75 words (5 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Greatrake migration to the United States +

For political, religious, and economic reasons, thousands of English families boarded ships for Ireland, Canada, 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 Greatrake surname or a spelling variation of the name include:

Greatrake Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • George, Henry and Lawrence Greatrake, who settled in Delaware in 1813
  • George Greatrake, aged 18, who arrived in Delaware in 1813 [7]
  • Henry Greatrake, aged 15, who landed in Delaware in 1813 [7]
  • Lawrence Greatrake, who arrived in Washington, DC in 1813 [7]
  • Lawrence, Greatrake Jr., aged 20, who arrived in Delaware in 1813 [7]


  1. ^ Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  2. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  3. ^ Barber, Henry, British Family Names London: Elliot Stock, 62 Paternoster Row, 1894. Print.
  4. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  5. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  6. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  7. ^ 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)


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