Show ContentsHolker History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the bearers of the Holker family name are thought have lived in ancient Anglo-Saxon England. They were first found 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 Holker family

The surname Holker 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 Holker family

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

Holker Spelling Variations

Until quite recently, the English language has lacked a definite system of spelling rules. Consequently, Anglo-Saxon surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. Changes in Anglo-Saxon names were influenced by the evolution of the English language, as it incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other languages. Although Medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, so it is common to find one person referred to by several different spellings of his surname, even the most literate people varied the spelling of their own names. Variations of the name Holker include Holker, Hoker, Holk and others.

Early Notables of the Holker family

Distinguished members of the family include

  • John Holker (1719-1786), Jacobite, son of John Holker of Stretford, Manchester, by Alice, daughter of John Morris...
  • Young Holker sold his patrimony in order to erect a cotton-mill, and spent two years at Manchester to acquire the necessary knowledge...
  • Brought up an ardent catholic and Jacobite, Holker was with difficulty dissuaded by his wife from joining the Young Pretender in Scotland in 1745...
  • When the prince entered Manchester, Holker joined his forces with the rank of lieutenant, and was captured with the other Manchester volunteers at Carlisle...
  • His only son, John Holker (1745-1822), was in 1769 appointed deputy-inspector, went to England to study Hargreaves's and Arkwright's processes, and in 1777 was sent by the French government to America...
  • Their son, Jean Louis Holker (1770-1844), discovered the method of continuous combustion in the vitriol manufacture, which he carried on, first at Rouen and afterwards at or near Paris...


United States Holker migration to the United States +

Searching for a better life, many English families migrated to British colonies. Unfortunately, the majority of them traveled under extremely harsh conditions: overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the ocean. For those families that arrived safely, modest prosperity was attainable, and many went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the new colonies. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Holker or a variant listed above:

Holker Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John Holker, a diplomat for the government of France, who settled in Springburg, Virginia during the American Revolution
  • Franzisca Holker, who landed in America in 1844 [3]
  • Heinr Anton Holker, who landed in America in 1844 [3]
  • Joh Herm Heinr Holker, who arrived in America in 1848 [3]
  • Gerh Heinr Holker, who arrived in America in 1849 [3]

Contemporary Notables of the name Holker (post 1700) +

  • Allison Renae Holker Boss (b. 1988), American dancer credited with a wide variety of work in film, television, and concert tours
  • Sir John Holker (1828-1882), English Lord Justice, son of Samuel Holker, a manufacturer, of Bury, Lancashire, by Sarah, daughter of John Brocklehurst of Clitheroe in that county, born at Bury in 1828
  • Sir John Holker (1828-1882), English lawyer and politician from Bury, Lancashire, Solicitor General in the government of Benjamin Disraeli in 1874
  • Franz Holker Ph.D., German scientist at the Institute of Hydrobiology and Fishery Science, University of Hamburg
  • Laurence Holker Potts (1789-1850), English physician and inventor born in Pall Mall, London, son of Cuthbert Potts, surgeon, and Ethelinda Margaret Thorpe


  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. 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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