Show ContentsPollak History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancient Scottish name Pollak was first used by the Strathclyde-Briton people of the Scottish/English Borderlands. The original bearer of the name lived at Pollok (Gaelic: Pollag), a large district on the south-western side of the city of Glasgow, home to Crookston Castle, where Mary, Queen of Scots, was once held. The name of the town has Gaelic origins, from the word 'poll', meaning "pool" or "pit".

Early Origins of the Pollak family

The surname Pollak was first found in Renfrewshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Rinn Friù), a historic county of Scotland, today encompassing the Council Areas of Renfrew, East Renfrewshire, and Iverclyde, in the Strathclyde region of southwestern Scotland, where the first occurrence of the name is Peter, son of Fulbert or Fulburt who was granted the lands of Upper Pollock by the High Steward, and who took the surname from the lands, making him the first Pollock. Peter gave the church of Pulloc and its pertinents to the monastery of Paisley, sometime between 1177 and 1199. Within that same period of time, he also confirmed the charter of his brother Helias of Perthic to the same house. Peter also possessed lands in Moray and circa 1175, he witnessed the charter by William the Lion granting Burgin to the Abbey of Kinlos. [1]

Circa 1230, Murial de Polloc, a daughter of Peter, gifted her land of Inuerorkel and all its pertinents for the benefit of the hospital erected beside the bridge of Spey for the reception of travelers. Continuing this pattern of generosity, Robert de Pollok granted to the monastery of Paisley, during the reign of Alexander II, alms of twelve pennies a year from the rents he earned from his lands. Other important Pollocks include John Pollok who was both steward of the Abbey of Arbroath and sheriff of Forfar. [1]

In England, Pook was a popular variant and in this case, the family was probably from Puckney Gill in the parish of Charlwood, County Surrey, so called from the Old English word "puca" (goblin) and "eg" (island). [2] The surname is first found in Sussex in 1332 as atte Pukenegh, and occurs also in County Surrey at about the same date. From the fourteenth to the seventeenth century the name was largely confined to a small central area of central Sussex, around West Grinstead. The name was also occasionally used as a nickname 'the puk' from the complexion of hair or dress, a colour between russet and black. [3]

William Puch was documented in the year 1166, and appears to be the first of the name on record. William le Puk of County Somerset, was documented during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377) and John Pouk was recorded in County Somerset at the same time. [4]

Early History of the Pollak family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Pollak research. Another 220 words (16 lines of text) covering the years 1234, 1272, 1590, 1603, 1660, 1827 and 1890 are included under the topic Early Pollak History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Pollak Spelling Variations

The many spelling variations in Medieval Scottish names result from the fact that scribes in that era spelled words according to sound. Translation too, was an undeveloped science, and many names were altered into complete obscurity. Over the years Pollak has been spelled Pollock, Pollocke, Polk, Polke, Pollok, Pollick, Polloch, Pook, Pooke, Poock, Pogue, Poag, Poage, Poague, Poak and many more.

Early Notables of the Pollak family

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

Pollak Ranking

In the United States, the name Pollak is the 10,033rd most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [5]

Ireland Migration of the Pollak family to Ireland

Some of the Pollak family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 96 words (7 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Pollak migration to the United States +

To escape the uncertainties and discrimination faced in Scotland, many decided to head out for North America. Once they arrived, many Scots fought with relish in the American War of Independence; some went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. Many ancestors of these Scots have recovered their lost national heritage in the 20th century through Clan organizations and Scottish historical societies. Among the settlers to North America were:

Pollak Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John Pollak, aged 34, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1868 [6]

Contemporary Notables of the name Pollak (post 1700) +

  • Kevin Elliot Pollak (b. 1957), American actor, impressionist, game show host, and comedian [7]
  • Phyllis Pollak, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Florida, 1956 [8]
  • Alice Pollak, American politician, Socialist Workers Candidate for Michigan State Treasurer, 1950; Socialist Workers Candidate for Michigan State Board of Education, 1951 [8]

The Pollak Motto +

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: Audacter et strenue
Motto Translation: Boldly and earnestly.

  1. Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  2. Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  3. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  4. Dickinson, F.H., Kirby's Quest for Somerset of 16th of Edward the 3rd London: Harrison and Sons, Printers in Ordinary to Her Majesty, St, Martin's Lane, 1889. Print.
  5. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  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)
  7. Kevin Pollak. (Retrieved 2011, January 21) Kevin Pollak. Retrieved from
  8. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 23) . Retrieved from on Facebook