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The ancestors of the first family in ancient Scotland to use the name Shanks lived among the Boernicians. Shanks is a name for a person with long legs, or a peculiar manner of gait. Shanks 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.

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The surname Shanks 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.

Over the years, Shanks has been written It appears under these variations because medieval scribes spelled names according to sound rather than by any over-arching set of rules. Shank, Shanke, Schank, Schanke, Shankis, Schankis, Shanks, Shanx, Schanx and many more.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Shanks 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 Shanks History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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

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Some of the Shanks 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.

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When these Boernician-Scottish settlers arrived in North America they brought little with them and often had restart their lives from scratch. Through time, much of their heritage was lost, and it is only this century through Clan societies and highland games that many have recovered their national heritage. Research into various historical records has revealed some of first members of the Shanks family to immigrate North America:

Shanks Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • John Shanks, who landed in Maryland in 1637-1640
  • John Shanks settled in Virginia in 1650
  • Abigail Shanks, who landed in Maryland in 1650

Shanks Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Edward Shanks, who landed in Jamaica in 1706-1707
  • John Shanks arrived in Virginia in 1734
  • Mathew Shanks settled in Charles Town, in 1766
  • Mr. Shanks settled in Boston in 1768 with his four children

Shanks Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Archibald Shanks, who landed in New York in 1808
  • William Shanks, who landed in New York, NY in 1815
  • Hugh Shanks, who arrived in Arkansas in 1889

Shanks Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • Andrew Shanks, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Lieut. James Shanks U.E. who settled in Carleton [Saint John City], New Brunswick c. 1784 he served in the Prince of Wales American Volunteers, became a Freeman in 1785 [1]CITATION[CLOSE]
    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

Shanks Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • George Shanks, aged 30, a farmer, arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the brig "Ann & Mary" from Cork, Ireland

Shanks Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Margaret Shanks, aged 19, a farm servant, arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Epaminondas"
  • William Shanks, aged 20, a labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1858 aboard the ship "Storm Cloud"
  • Thomas Green Shanks, aged 40, a farm servant, arrived in South Australia in 1858 aboard the ship "Frenchman"
  • Thomas Shanks, aged 18, a labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1858 aboard the ship "Frenchman"
  • Mary Shanks, aged 16, a domestic servant, arrived in South Australia in 1858 aboard the ship "Frenchman"

Shanks Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Gavin Shanks arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Cairngorm" in 1863
  • Elizabeth Shanks arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Cairngorm" in 1863
  • Agnes Shanks arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Cairngorm" in 1863
  • Robert Shanks, aged 22, a labourer, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Helenslee" in 1864
  • Jane Shanks, aged 22, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Helenslee" in 1864
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  • Nelson Shanks (1937-2015), American artist and painter, perhaps best known for his portraits of Diana, Princess of Wales and President Bill Clinton
  • Don Shanks (b. 1950), American actor and stuntman
  • Daniel Shanks (1917-1996), American mathematician, best known for being the first to compute pi to 100,000 decimal places
  • Katrina Shanks (b. 1970), New Zealand politician
  • Howard "Howie" Shanks (1890-1941), former Major League Baseball player
  • Hershel Shanks (b. 1930), founder of the Biblical Archaeology Society
  • Edward Shanks (1892-1953), English writer
  • Donald Shanks AO OBE (b. 1940), Australian operatic bass-baritone
  • Don Shanks (b. 1952), British footballer
  • Charles G. Shanks (1841-1895), 19th century journalist and associate editor of the Louisville Courier-Journal
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Shanks Historic Events



Halifax Explosion

  • Mrs. Shanks, Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917
  • Mr. John  Shanks, Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917
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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: Spero
Motto Translation: I hope.

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Citations



  1. ^ 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

Other References

  1. Innes, Thomas and Learney. Socts Heraldry A Practical Handbook on the Historical Principles and Modern Application of the Art of Science. London: Oliver and Boyd, 1934. Print.
  2. 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).
  3. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  4. Skene, William Forbes Edition. Chronicles of the Picts, Chronicles of the Scots and Other Early Memorials of Scottish History. Edinburgh: H.M. General Register House, 1867. Print.
  5. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  6. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  7. Browne, James. The History of Scotland it's Highlands, Regiments and Clans 8 Volumes. Edinburgh: Francis A Niccolls & Co, 1909. Print.
  8. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  9. Paul, Sir James Balfour. An Ordinary of Arms Contained in the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland Second Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1903. Print.
  10. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  11. ...

The Shanks Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Shanks 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 23 August 2016 at 02:19.

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