Marks History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Marks history begins in Cornwall, a rugged coastal region in southwestern England. Quite distinct from Devon, the adjoining county, Cornwall had its own spoken language until the late 18th century. The Marks history began here. The manner in which hereditary surnames arose is interesting. Local surnames were derived from where the original bearer lived, was born, or held land. Unlike most Celtic peoples, who favored patronymic names, the Cornish predominantly used local surnames. The Marks family originally lived on a boundary between two districts. Literally the name meant "dweller by the boundary" from the Old English word "mearc." [1]

Early Origins of the Marks family

The surname Marks was first found in Essex where "Adelolfus de Merc held lands under Eustace Earl of Boulogne. His estate of Tollesbury was still held by by one of his descendants, Henry de Merk, in 1251. This name, variously given as Merkes, Markes, and Mark, was derived from Marc in Normandy. Geoffrey de Marco and his sons are mentioned by Ordericus Vitalis (591). It is still retained by many places in Essex. There is Le Marck, or Marks Hall, in the parish of Leyton, Mark’s Tay (held under the Mandevilles “from the earliest times”), the parish of Markes Hall, Merks in Dunmow (possessed since the days of the Conqueror), and others. The family was wealthy, numerous, and greatly sub-divided. Aitropus, or Eutropius, and Simon de Merc occur in the Rotuli Curiæ Regis of 1194-98: and the latter is also entered in the Monasticon as a benefactor of Thornton Abbey. He and his son Ingelram held Marks, in the parish of Great Dunmow, of the King in capite of his Honour of Bologne, and had certainly three, if not more, successors in the male line. " [2]

Rogerus filius Markes was found in Hampshire according to the Curia Regis Rolls of 1207 as was Robertus Marcus in 1148 at Winton. Simon del Merc was in the Curia Regis Rolls for Essex in 1208. A few years later, Philip Marc was listed in the Pipe Rolls of Northumberland in 1209 and later, Robertus Markes was listed in Cheshire in 1288. [1]

Early History of the Marks family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Marks research. Another 254 words (18 lines of text) covering the years 1291, 1226, 1296 and are included under the topic Early Marks History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Marks Spelling Variations

Cornish surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The official court languages, which were Latin and French, were also influential on the spelling of a surname. Since the spelling of surnames was rarely consistent in medieval times, and scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings of their surname in the ancient chronicles. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into England, which accelerated and accentuated the alterations to the spelling of various surnames. Lastly, spelling variations often resulted from the linguistic differences between the people of Cornwall and the rest of England. The Cornish spoke a unique Brythonic Celtic language which was first recorded in written documents during the 10th century. However, they became increasingly Anglicized, and Cornish became extinct as a spoken language in 1777, although it has been revived by Cornish patriots in the modern era. The name has been spelled Mark, Marks, Markes, Marke and others.

Early Notables of the Marks family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Marks Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Marks World Ranking

In the United States, the name Marks is the 647th most popular surname with an estimated 44,766 people with that name. [3] However, in Australia, the name Marks is ranked the 507th most popular surname with an estimated 7,495 people with that name. [4] And in New Zealand, the name Marks is the 823rd popular surname with an estimated 889 people with that name. [5] The United Kingdom ranks Marks as 684th with 9,703 people. [6]

Ireland Migration of the Marks family to Ireland

Some of the Marks family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 78 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Marks migration to the United States +

Discovered in the immigration and passenger lists were a number of people bearing the name Marks:

Marks Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Walgrave Marks, who landed in Virginia in 1624-1625 [7]
  • Richard Marks, aged 19, who landed in Virginia in 1635 [7]
  • Brice Marks, who arrived in Virginia in 1638 [7]
Marks Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Joseph Marks, who landed in New York in 1709 [7]
  • Ann Marks, who landed in Georgia in 1738 [7]
  • Hugh Marks, who landed in Georgia in 1738 [7]
  • William Marks, aged 37, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1740 [7]
  • George Marks, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1761 [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Marks Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John Marks, aged 30, who arrived in New York in 1812 [7]
  • Robert Marks, aged 27, who arrived in New York in 1812 [7]
  • James Marks, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1833 [7]
  • Mathias D Marks, who landed in Mississippi in 1843 [7]
  • Wilhelm Marks, aged 31, who arrived in New York, NY in 1847 [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Marks Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Mr. William Henry Marks, (b. 1877), aged 26, English miner travelling aboard the ship "St Paul" arriving at Ellis Island, New York on 26th April 1903 en route to Coalville, Utah, USA [8]
  • Mr. Peter Marks, (b. 1882), aged 22, Cornish quarryman, from Redruth, Cornwall, UK travelling aboard the ship "New York" arriving at Ellis Island, New York on 21st August 1904 en route to Stony Creek, Pennsylvania, USA [8]
  • Mr. Phillip Marks, (b. 1877), aged 28, Cornish miner, from St Austell, Cornwall, UK travelling aboard the ship "St Paul" arriving at Ellis Island, New York in 1905 en route to Houghton, Michigan, USA [8]

Canada Marks migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Marks Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. John Marks U.E. who settled in Parr Town, Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1784 [9]
  • Mr. John Lawrence Marks U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1784 [9]
  • Mr. Nehemiah Marks U.E. (b. 1747) born in Derby, Connecticut, USA who settled in St. Stephen, Charlotte County, New Brunswick c. 1784 member of the Port Matoon Association and Penobscot Association, he died in 1799 [9]
  • Mr. William Marks U.E. who settled in Parr Town, Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1784 [9]

Australia Marks migration to Australia +

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

Marks Settlers in Australia in the 18th Century
  • Mr. William Marks, Cornish settler convicted in Cornwall, UK on 6th August 1787, sentenced for 14 years for stealing a watch from a house, transported Neptuneon 19th January 1790 to New South Wales, Australia [10]
Marks Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Joseph Marks, (b. 1801), aged 18, English labourer who was convicted in Northampton, Northamptonshire, England for 14 years for highway robbery, transported aboard the "Asiatic" on 5th June 1819, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [11]
  • Philip Marks, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on July 29th, 1823, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [12]
  • William Marks, English convict from Sussex, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on October 22nd, 1824, settling in New South Wales, Australia [13]
  • Richard Marks, who arrived in Kangaroo Island aboard the ship "Hartley" in 1837 [14]
  • Thomas Marks, who arrived in Kangaroo Island aboard the ship "Hartley" in 1837 [14]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Marks 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:

Marks Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Morris Marks, who landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1840
  • Catherine Marks, aged 30, a servant, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "London" in 1840
  • Mr. David Marks, British settler travelling from Portsmouth aboard the ship "Duke of Portland" arriving in Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand on 13th October 1851 [15]
  • Mrs. Hannah Marks, British settler travelling from Portsmouth aboard the ship "Duke of Portland" arriving in Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand on 13th October 1851 [15]
  • Mr. William Marks, British settler travelling from Portsmouth aboard the ship "Duke of Portland" arriving in Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand on 13th October 1851 [15]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Marks (post 1700) +

  • Michael Marks (1859-1907), British businessman, co-founder of the retail chain Marks & Spencer
  • Arthur Ronald Marks (1927-2019), American film and television director, writer, producer and distributor
  • Brigadier-General Edwin Hall Marks (1887-1967), American Commanding General Fort Belvoir, Virginia (1941-1942) [16]
  • Laurence Marks (1915-1993), American writer for radio and television shows including M*A*S*H
  • Frederick Marks (1949-2021), English actor and musician, best known for being part of the musical trio Rod, Jane and Freddy
  • Simon Marks (1888-1964), 1st Baron Marks of Broughton, an English businessman
  • Leopold Samuel Marks (1920-2001), English cryptographer, screenwriter and playwright, best known for his screenplay Peeping Tom
  • David Marks, English psychologist and professor at City University, London
  • Ms. Alexandra Louise Marks C.B.E., British Crown Court Recorder for Criminal Cases Review Commissioner for the Judicial Appointments Commissioner and Chair for Prisoners’ Education Trust was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire on 17th June 2017, for public service
  • Kenneth Marks (1920-1988), British politician, Member of Parliament for Manchester Gorton (1967–1983)
  • ... (Another 7 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Empress of Ireland
  • Mrs. Marion Marks (1874-1914), née Alexander British First Class Passenger returning from Suva, Fiji who was traveling aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking [17]
  • Mr. Gabriel Marks (1871-1914), British First Class Passenger returning from Suva, Fiji who was traveling aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking [17]
Halifax Explosion
  • Mr. Martin Gay  Marks (1862-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [18]
HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. Frederick J Marks, British Musician, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [19]
Monongah Mine
  • Mr. Ross Marks, Italian coal miner who was in mine 6 at the Monongah mine on 6th December 1907 when it exploded and collapsed; he died [20]
RMS Lusitania
  • Miss Georgina Marks, English 3rd Class passenger from Bristol, England, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking [21]
  • Mrs. Elizabeth Marks, English 3rd Class passenger from Bristol, England, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking [21]
RMS Titanic
  • Mr. J. Marks (d. 1912), aged 26, English Assistant Pantry man Steward from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking [22]
USS Arizona
  • Mr. Edward J. Marks, American Coxswain working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he survived the sinking [23]


Suggested Readings for the name Marks +

  • The LH7 Ranch in Houston's Shadow: The E.H. Marks Legacy from Longhorns to the Salt Grass Trail by Deborah Lightfoot Sizemore.
  • Marks-Barnett Families and Their Kin by Marion Dewoody Pettigrew.

  1. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 2 of 3
  3. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  4. ^ https://forebears.io/australia/surnames
  5. ^ https://forebears.io/new-zealand/surnames
  6. ^ https://www.surnamemap.eu/unitedkingdom/surnames_ranking.php?p=10
  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)
  8. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_ellis_island_1892_on.pdf
  9. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  10. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 30th May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_australia_convicts.pdf
  11. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 14th July 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/atlas
  12. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Asia 1 voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1823 with 151 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/asia/1823
  13. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Asia 1 voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1824 with 9 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/asia/1824
  14. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) HARTLEY 1837. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1837Hartley.htm
  15. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  16. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2013, February 12) Edwin Marks. Retrieved from http://generals.dk/general/Marks/Edwin_Hall/USA.html
  17. ^ Commemoration Empress of Ireland 2014. (Retrieved 2014, June 17) . Retrieved from http://www.empress2014.ca/seclangen/listepsc1.html
  18. ^ Halifax Explosion Book of Remembrance | Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. (Retrieved 2014, June 23) . Retrieved from https://maritimemuseum.novascotia.ca/what-see-do/halifax-explosion/halifax-explosion-book-remembrance
  19. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html
  20. ^ Monongah Mining Disaster retrieved on 8th August 2021. (Retrieved fromhttps://usminedisasters.miningquiz.com/saxsewell/monongah.htm).
  21. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 6) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/
  22. ^ Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from http://www.titanicfacts.net/titanic-passenger-list.html
  23. ^ Pearl Harbour: USS Arizona Casualties List Pearl Harbour December 7, 1941. (Retrieved 2018, July 31st). Retrieved from http://pearl-harbor.com/arizona/casualtylist.html


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