Show ContentsSlack History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The history of the Slack family goes back to the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. It is derived from the family living in the village of Slack in the county of Yorkshire. The original bearers of the surname Slack were named due to their close proximity to a place where the road becomes less steep. The surname was originally derived from the Old English word slagg, which denoted such as place. [1] [2]

"The word slack signifies valley, a small shallow dell. Black, slak, slake, an opening in the higher part of a hill or mountain, where it becomes less steep, and forms a sort of pass; a gap or narrow pass between two hills or mountains." [3]

Early Origins of the Slack family

The surname Slack was first found in Yorkshire where "this is an ancient name; it designates the site of a Saxon royal residence in the north division of the West Riding, and as a surname it was represented by Adam Slach in Cambridgeshire in the time of Edward I. " [4]

The Yorkshire heritage can be of no doubt, but we must look further south to Lincolnshire to find the first record of the family. The Pipe Rolls of 1195 include an entry for Gerebod le Slac. [5] Back in Yorkshire, the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 have three entries for the family: Johannes del Slak; Thomas de Slake; and Johannes Sclake. All three held lands there at that time. [1]

"The Slacks of Derbyshire are numerous in the Derby district. In 1674, Arthur Slack gave £40 to the town of Buxton (G.); and about the same time Robert Slack resided at Hayfield in this neighbourhood (Earwaker's "East Cheshire"). The name is still represented in the Buxton district on the Staffordshire border. Slack is the name of a place in the parish of Ashover. Thomas Slack was rector of Bolton, Yorkshire, in 1680. The present Slacks of this county have their principal home in the Macclesfield district. In 1662 Nicholas Slack held an estate called Dunge in Kettleshulme; Mr. Hewitt Slack was a Stockport surgeon in the first half of last century (E.). The Slacks are also established in Derbyshire, Cumberland, Staffordshire, and Nottinghamshire, and further reference will be found to them under one or more of those counties. " [4]

In Scotland, the name is "recorded in Dumfriesshire. Of local origin, perhaps from the old lands of Slake or Slack in the parish of Roberton, Roxburghshire." [6]

Early History of the Slack family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Slack research. Another 114 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1379, 1579, 1587, 1900 and 1902 are included under the topic Early Slack History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Slack Spelling Variations

Until quite recently, the English language has lacked a definite system of spelling rules. Consequently, Anglo-Saxon surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. Changes in Anglo-Saxon names were influenced by the evolution of the English language, as it incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other languages. Although Medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, so it is common to find one person referred to by several different spellings of his surname, even the most literate people varied the spelling of their own names. Variations of the name Slack include Slack, Slacke, Slach, Slagg, Slag, Slak and others.

Early Notables of the Slack family (pre 1700)

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

Slack Ranking

In the United States, the name Slack is the 3,139th most popular surname with an estimated 9,948 people with that name. [7]

Ireland Migration of the Slack family to Ireland

Some of the Slack family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 59 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Slack migration to the United States +

Searching for a better life, many English families migrated to British colonies. Unfortunately, the majority of them traveled under extremely harsh conditions: overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the ocean. For those families that arrived safely, modest prosperity was attainable, and many went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the new colonies. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Slack or a variant listed above:

Slack Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Anne Slack who settled in Baltimore, Maryland in 1775
Slack Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Seth Slack, who arrived in New York in 1820
  • Jane Slack, who arrived in New York in 1820
  • Jane Slack, aged 20, who arrived in New York, NY in 1820 [8]
  • Seth Slack, aged 23, who arrived in New York, NY in 1820 [8]
  • John Slack, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1840 [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Slack migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Slack Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Thomas Slack, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1749
  • Thomas Slack, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750

Australia Slack migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Slack Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. George Slack, British Convict who was convicted in Devon, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Coromandel" on 27th October 1819, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [9]
  • Mr. Benjamin Slack, (b. 1797), aged 24, English iron founder who was convicted in Lincoln, Lincolnshire, England for 7 years for fraud, transported aboard the "Claudine" on 20th May 1821, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [10]
  • Miss Caroline Slack, (b. 1812), aged 19, English cotton spinner who was convicted in Lancaster, Lancashire, England for 14 years for receiving stolen goods, transported aboard the "Burrell" on 31st December 1831, arriving in New South Wales [11]
  • Mr. Samuel Slack, British Convict who was convicted in Knutsford (Nether Knutsford), Cheshire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Eden" on 12th March 1842, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Island) [12]
  • Abraham Slack, English convict from Derby, who was transported aboard the "Anson" on September 23, 1843, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [13]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Slack migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Slack Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • J. D. Slack, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Sydenham" in 1870

Contemporary Notables of the name Slack (post 1700) +

  • John Mark Slack Jr (1915-1980), American politician, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from West Virginia (1959-1963)
  • Shanon Slack (b. 1984), American mixed martial artist
  • Reginald "Reggie" Slack (b. 1968), American-born, Canadian and American football quarterback
  • David Slack, American animation and television writer and producer, known for his work on Person of Interest (2011), Teen Titans (2003) and Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo (2006)
  • Frederick Charles "Freddie" Slack (1910-1965), American swing and boogie-woogie pianist and bandleader
  • Private Clayton Kirk Slack (1896-1976), soldier in the United States Army who received the Medal of Honor for his actions during the World War I
  • Henry Slack, American Democratic Party politician, Postmaster at St. Joseph, Missouri, 1854-55 [14]
  • Greenbury Slack, American Republican politician, Member of West Virginia State Senate 7th District, 1863-68; Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from West Virginia, 1868 [14]
  • Charles W. Slack, American politician, U.S. Collector of Internal Revenue for the 3rd Massachusetts District, 1879 [14]
  • Charles P. Slack, American Democratic Party politician, Candidate for New York State Assembly from Orleans County, 1920 [14]
  • ... (Another 26 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Suggested Readings for the name Slack +

  • 6,474 Slack Relatives by Roscoe C. Keeney.
  • Adjusting Branches of the Lane, Slack, Bush, et al. Family trees by Doris Christine Blummer Jackson.

  1. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  2. Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. Print
  3. Charnock, Richard, Stephen, Ludus Patronymicus of The Etymology of Curious Surnames. London: Trubner & Co., 60 Paternoster Row, 1868. Print.
  4. Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  5. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  6. 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)
  7. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  8. 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)
  9. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 12th March 2021). Retrieved from
  10. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 17th February 2021). Retrieved from
  11. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 5th November 2020). Retrieved from
  12. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 15th December 2021). Retrieved from
  13. State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2015, January 8) Anson voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1843 with 499 passengers. Retrieved from
  14. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 10) . Retrieved from on Facebook