Show ContentsHowker History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Howker is rooted in the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture. It was originally a name for someone who worked as a person who made hooks or an agricultural worker who used hooks. The name Howker was also applied to someone who lived near a bend or hill-spur. The surname Howker is derived from the Old English word hoc, which means hook. [1]

"The original name of the family was Vowell, but in the fifteenth century members of it called themselves Vowell alias Hooker or Hoker, and in the sixteenth century the original name was generally dropped." [2]

One other source confirms this name change, but it should be noted that only one branch did so. "The original name was Vowell or Fowell, and the family had been seated at Fowelscombe t. Henry IV. or earlier; and a younger son marrying an heiress assumed the name of Hooker." [3]

Early Origins of the Howker family

The surname Howker was first found in the source Liber Elienis where Osmundus cognomento Hocere was recorded c. 975. From this earliest entry in Latin and in Saxon times, we move to Norfolk where William, Osbert Hoker(e) was found in the Pipe Rolls of 1199, and later in the Assize Rolls for Lincolnshire in 1219. John le Hoker, le Houker was found in the Subsidy Rolls for Sussex in 1327 and 1332. [4]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 revealed Robert le Hoker, Kent; and Hugh Hoker, Norfolk. [5]

Early History of the Howker family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Howker research. Another 82 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1199, 1558, 1526, 1601, 1526, 1529, 1554, 1600, 1553, 1493, 1537, 1490, 1529, 1586 and 1647 are included under the topic Early Howker History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Howker 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 Howker 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. The variations of the name Howker include Hooker, Hookers and others.

Early Notables of the Howker family (pre 1700)

Notables of the family at this time include John Hooker alias Vowell (1526?-1601), English antiquary and Chamberlain of Exeter, born there in or about 1526, being the second son of Robert Hooker, who was Mayor of Exeter in 1529. [2] Richard Hooker (1554?-1600) was a noted English theologian who wrote "The Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity." he was born at Heavitree, Exeter, probably in March 1553-4. The original name of the family was Vowell, but in the fifteenth century members of it called themselves Vowell alias Hooker or Hoker, and in the sixteenth century...
Another 91 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Howker Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Howker migration to the United States +

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 Howker or a variant listed above:

Howker Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Sarah Howker, who arrived in Maryland in 1660 [6]
  • Richard Howker, who landed in Maryland in 1673 [6]
Howker Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Henry Howker, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1851 [6]

  1. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  3. 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)
  4. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  5. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  6. 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) on Facebook