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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

Where did the English Okey family come from? What is the English Okey family crest and coat of arms? When did the Okey family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Okey family history?

The ancestry of the name Okey dates from the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. It comes from when the family lived near a notable oak tree or near a group of oaks. The surname Okey is derived from the Old English word ac, which means oak. The surname Okey belongs to the class of topographic surnames, which were given to people who resided near physical features such as hills, streams, churches, or types of trees.

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Spelling variations in names were a common occurrence before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago. In the Middle Ages, even the literate spelled their names differently as the English language incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other European languages. Many variations of the name Okey have been found, including Oak, Oake, Oakes, Oke, Okes and others.

First found in Somerset where Oake is a village and civil parish that dates back to before the Norman Copnquest when it was listed as Acon in 897. The place was listed as Acha in the Domesday Book [1] and literally means "place at the oak trees" from the Old Englisk word "ac" [2]


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Okey research. Another 137 words(10 lines of text) covering the years 1606, 1662, 1645, 1631, 1681, 1640, 1675, 1680, 1680, 1681, 1644 and 1719 are included under the topic Early Okey History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 201 words(14 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Okey Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Families began migrating abroad in enormous numbers because of the political and religious discontent in England. Often faced with persecution and starvation in England, the possibilities of the New World attracted many English people. Although the ocean trips took many lives, those who did get to North America were instrumental in building the necessary groundwork for what would become for new powerful nations. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America bore the name Okey, or a variant listed above:

Okey Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • Wm Okey, who arrived in Virginia in 1664
  • John Okey, who landed in Maryland in 1666

Okey Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • George Richard Okey, aged 22, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Ann Wilson" in 1857

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  • Shannon Okey (b. 1975), American writer and knit designer
  • John Waterman Okey (1827-1885), American jurist, Ohio Supreme Court Justice (1878-1885)
  • John Clark "Jack" Okey (1889-1963), American two-time Academy Award nominated art director
  • Frank Okey (b. 1919), born Francis Anthony Okolowicz, American tennis and squash champion who won 85 tennis tournament wins
  • Mark Okey, American former politician, Democratic member of the Ohio House of Representatives (2007-2010)
  • Thomas Okey (1852-1935), American expert on basket weaving, Italian translator, and a writer on art and the topography of architecture and art works in Italy and France, first professor in Cambridge University under the Serena Professor of Italian (1919)
  • Howard Okey (1906-1985), Australian rules footballer for Essendon (1928-1934)
  • Henry James Hobbs Okey (1857-1918), New Zealand politician, Member of Parliament for Taranaki (1907-1918)


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The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Quercus robur salus patria
Motto Translation: The strength of the oak is the safety of our country.

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  1. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  2. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)

Other References

  1. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  2. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  3. Burke, Sir Bernard. Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry: Including American Families with British Ancestry. (2 Volumes). London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  4. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  5. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  6. Sanders, Joanne McRee Edition. English Settlers in Barbados 1637-1800. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  7. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  8. Crispin, M. Jackson and Leonce Mary. Falaise Roll Recording Prominent Companions of William Duke of Normandy at the Conquest of England. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  9. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  10. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  11. ...

The Okey Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Okey Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 13 May 2015 at 09:03.

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