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An excerpt from archives copyright 2000 - 2016

An ancient Scottish tribe called the Boernicians were the ancestors of the first people to use the surname Schank. It is a name for a person with long legs, or a peculiar manner of gait. Schank is a nickname, which belongs to the category of hereditary surnames. Nicknames form a broad and miscellaneous class of surnames, and can refer directly or indirectly to one's personality, physical attributes, mannerisms, or even their habits of dress. It derives from the Old English word sceanca, which means shin bone, or leg. While this word has survived in Scotland, it has been replaced in England, by the Old Norse word leggr, which means leg.


The surname Schank was first found in Midlothian, where the family held a family seat from very ancient times. They were designated as 'Shank of that Ilk" meaning an ancient Clan who possessed lands of that same name. Murdoch Shank, son of the first recorded chief of the Clan of Shank in Mid Lothian, was granted the lands of Kinghorn in Fife by a Charter from King Robert the Bruce of Scotland in the year 1319 for his allegiance and loyalty of the clan in his fight for the crown of Scotland.

Spelling rules only evolved in the last few centuries with the invention of the printing press and the first dictionaries. Spelling variations are extremely common in names from before that period. Schank has been spelled Shank, Shanke, Schank, Schanke, Shankis, Schankis, Shanks, Shanx, Schanx and many more.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Schank research. Another 213 words (15 lines of text) covering the years 1426, 1489, 1490, 1620, 1630, 1636, 1643, 1725, and 1823 are included under the topic Early Schank History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


Another 42 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Schank Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


Some of the Schank family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 264 words (19 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


After making their great crossing, many Boernician-Scottish families settled along the east coast of North Ameri ca. When the War of Independence broke out, United Empire Loyalists moved north to Canada while the rest stayed to fight. The ancestors of many of these Scots still populate the continent. This century, through Clan societies and other Scottish organizations, they began to rediscover their collective national heritage. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Schank or a variant listed above:

Schank Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Theobald Schank, who landed in America in 1740

Schank Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Karl Schank, who arrived in Brazil in 1825
  • Nikolaus Schank, who arrived in America in 1837
  • Peter Schank, who landed in North America in 1840
  • Franz Karl Schank, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1846
  • Jakob Schank, who arrived in North America in 1847
  • ...

  • Admiral John Schank (1740-1823), Scottish officer of the British Royal Navy, eponym of Cape Schanck, Victoria, Australia

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: Spero
Motto Translation: I hope.


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    Other References

    1. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
    2. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
    3. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
    4. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
    5. 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).
    6. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1968. Print.
    7. Scots Kith and Kin And Illustrated Map Revised 2nd Edition. Edinburgh: Clan House/Albyn. Print.
    8. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
    9. 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).
    10. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry Including American Families with British Ancestry 2 Volumes. London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
    11. ...

    The Schank Family Crest was acquired from the archives. The Schank 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 June 2012 at 08:47.

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