Show ContentsHolk History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Holk is of Anglo-Saxon origin and came from when the family lived in Holker, in Cumberland, now called Cumbria. The place-name Holker is made up of two Old Scandinavian elements. The first is hol, which meant hollow or valley. The second is kjarr, the word for marsh. The place-name as a whole meant "marsh in the valley." [1]

Early Origins of the Holk family

The surname Holk was first found in Lancashire, at Upper Holker or Lower Holker. Collectively, these townships date back to the Domesday Book of 1086 when they were known as Holecher. [2]

Holker Hall, a privately owned country house located near the village of Cartmel, Cumbria, was built in the 16th century and was originally the property of the Preston family which was later passed on to the Lowthers and finally to the Cavendish family.

Early History of the Holk family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Holk research. Another 179 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1086, 1524, 1601, 1553, 1600, 1593, 1777, 1719, 1786, 1740, 1745, 1746, 1746, 1745, 1822, 1769, 1777, 1800, 1822, 1770 and 1844 are included under the topic Early Holk History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Holk Spelling Variations

It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, early Anglo-Saxon surnames like Holk are characterized by many spelling variations. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages, even literate people changed the spelling of their names. Scribes and monks in the Middle Ages spelled names they sounded, so it is common to find several variations that refer to a single person. The variations of the name Holk include: Holker, Hoker, Holk and others.

Early Notables of the Holk family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include John Holker (1719-1786), Jacobite, son of John Holker of Stretford, Manchester, by Alice, daughter of John Morris. "The founder of the family, Alexander Holker, is said to have been presented by James I with lands at Monton, Eccles. John's father, a yeoman, died shortly after his son's birth, and his widow about 1740. Young Holker sold his patrimony in order to erect a cotton-mill, and spent two years at Manchester to acquire the necessary knowledge. He married Elizabeth, daughter of John Hilton or Hulton, a Manchester tradesman. Brought up an ardent catholic and Jacobite, Holker...
Another 202 words (14 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Holk Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Holk family

Many English families tired of political and religious strife left Britain for the new colonies in North America. Although the trip itself offered no relief - conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and many travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute - these immigrants believed the opportunities that awaited them were worth the risks. Once in the colonies, many of the families did indeed prosper and, in turn, made significant contributions to the culture and economies of the growing colonies. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families has revealed a number of immigrants bearing the name Holk or a variant listed above: John Holker, a diplomat for the government of France, who settled in Springburg, Virginia during the American Revolution. Among the other family members to migrate to North America were: George Hoke, who sailed to Pennsylvania in 1765.

Contemporary Notables of the name Holk (post 1700) +

  • John R. Holk, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Gold Democrat National Convention from Illinois, 1896 [3]
  • Brian W. Holk, American Libertarian politician, Candidate for Texas State House of Representatives 53rd District, 2006, 2008, 2010 [3]

  1. Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  3. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 26) . Retrieved from on Facebook