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

Origins Available: English, Irish

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

The history of the Silk name began with the ancient Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from the baptismal name for the son of Cecil, deriving from the nickname Sill. After the Norman Conquest, the Old English naming system gradually dissolved. Old English names became less common and were replaced by popular continental European names. The earliest surnames in England were found shortly after the Norman Conquest and are of Norman French rather than native English origins.


Sound was what guided spelling in the essentially pre-literate Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Also, before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Therefore, spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Silk family name include Silcock, Silcocks, Silcox, Sylcox, Sylcock, Shilcock, Shrilcox, Shrilcocks, Silk and many more.

First found in Derbyshire where they held a family seat from early times and were anciently descended from the distinguished Saxon family who held a family seat there well before the Norman Conquest. The name is derived from a colloquial term in Derbyshire about the year 1000 describing a thrush, i.e. a "shrilcock" or "shilcock."


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Silk research. Another 338 words (24 lines of text) covering the years 1200, 1283, 1379, and 1781 are included under the topic Early Silk History in all our PDF Extended History products.


More information is included under the topic Early Silk Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


For political, religious, and economic reasons, thousands of English families boarded ships for Ireland, the Canadas, the America colonies, and many of smaller tropical colonies in the hope of finding better lives abroad. Although the passage on the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving, those families that survived the trip often went on to make valuable contributions to those new societies to which they arrived. Early immigrants bearing the Silk surname or a spelling variation of the name include :

Silk Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Robt Silk, who landed in Virginia in 1714
  • Edward Silk, who came to North Carolina in 1736
  • James Silk settled in Baltimore, Maryland in 1775

Silk Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Esther Silk, who arrived in Baltimore in 1834
  • James Silk, who arrived in New York in 1835
  • John Silk, who landed in Harford County, Maryland in 1860
  • Mrs. Wm Silk, who arrived in Iowa in 1870
  • Peter Silk, who arrived in St Clair County, Illinois in 1881

Silk Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • Michl Silk, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1774
  • Daily Silk, who came to Canada in 1796

Silk Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • William Silk, aged 18, a farmer, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1834 aboard the schooner "Jane" from Galway

Silk Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Henry Oake Silk arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Winchester" in 1838

Silk Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • F. Silk arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Ashburton" in 1857
  • E. Silk arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Ashburton" in 1857
  • John Silk, aged 17, arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand aboard the ship "Apelles" in 1874
  • Martin Silk, aged 14, arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand aboard the ship "Apelles" in 1874
  • William Silk, aged 8, arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand aboard the ship "Apelles" in 1874


  • Joseph Ivor Silk, American Savilian Chair of Astronomy at the University of Oxford
  • Dennis Raoul Whitehall Silk CBE (b. 1931), American-born, English cricketer
  • Lieutenant Colonel Edward A. Silk (1916-1955), United States Army officer and recipient of the Medal of Honor
  • Gary Silk (b. 1984), English footballer
  • Mr. P S B Silk, British Petty Officer, who sailed in to battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking
  • Mr. Stanley George Silk (1897-1941), Australian Chief Petty Officer from Sevenoaks, Kent, England, who sailed into battle aboard HMAS Sydney II on the 19th November 1941 and died during the sinking
  • Private Joseph Henry Silk GC (1916-1943), British soldier posthumously awarded the George Cross for his heroic self sacrifice
  • George Silk (1916-2004), New Zealand photojournalist for Life magazine for 30 years


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  1. Innes, Thomas and Learney. The Tartans of the Clans and Families of Scotland 1st Edition. Edinburgh: W & A. K. Johnston Limited, 1938. Print.
  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. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  5. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  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. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
  8. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  9. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  10. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  11. ...

The Silk Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Silk 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 5 September 2015 at 17:01.

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