Show ContentsSpark History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Spark family name is linked to the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. Their name comes from the baptismal name Sparrowhawk, and in " 'the son of Sparrowhawk'; found as early as Domesday [Book] in the forms Sperhauoc (Nottinghamshire) [and] Sparhauoc (Suffolk.)" 1 The name could have been a nickname as in 'the sparrow - hawk,' having derived from the Middle English word "sperhauke." Another source notes the name could have been derived from the Old Norse words "sparkr" or "sproek" which meant "lively, sprightly." 2

Early Origins of the Spark family

The surname Spark was first found in Lincolnshire where William Sperc was listed in the Assize Rolls of 1202. A few years later, Ralph Sparke was listed in Suffolk in 1221. 2

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 list Sparhcuk Sutor in Suffolk; Thomas Sperheuk in Lincolnshire; and Nicholas Sparke in Norfolk. 1 John Sparhauk was rector of St Buttolph the Abbot, Norwich in 1351 and Kirby's Quest listed Gilbert Sperhauk in Somerset, 1 Edward III (during the first year of Edward III's reign.) 3

Later, the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 lists Magota Spark and Robertus Spark as both living there at that time. 1

Early History of the Spark family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Spark research. Another 101 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1407, 1548, 1554, 1566, 1574, 1583, 1584, 1591, 1603, 1604, 1613, 1616, 1628, 1629, 1636, 1640, 1660, 1677, 1680, 1683, 1692, 1698 and 1740 are included under the topic Early Spark History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Spark Spelling Variations

Until the dictionary, an invention of only the last few hundred years, the English language lacked any comprehensive system of spelling rules. Consequently, spelling variations in names are frequently found in early Anglo-Saxon and later Anglo-Norman documents. One person's name was often spelled several different ways over a lifetime. The recorded variations of Spark include Sparke, Spark, Sparkes, Sparks and others.

Early Notables of the Spark family

Notables of the family at this time include

  • John Sparke (died 1566), an English politician, Member of Parliament for Plympton Erle in 1554
  • John Sparke (d.1603) of Plymouth, Devon, Mayor of Plymouth in 1583 and 1591
  • Thomas Sparke (1548-1616), an English clergyman, who represented the Puritan point of view both at the 1584 Lambeth Conference and the 1604 Hampton Court Conference
  • Arthur Sparke (1628-1677), an English lawyer and politician who sat in the House of Commons in 1660
  • Joseph Sparke or Sparkes (1683-1740), an English antiquary and editor

United States Spark migration to the United States +

Thousands of English families boarded ships sailing to the New World in the hope of escaping the unrest found in England at this time. Although the search for opportunity and freedom from persecution abroad took the lives of many because of the cramped conditions and unsanitary nature of the vessels, the opportunity perceived in the growing colonies of North America beckoned. Many of the settlers who survived the journey went on to make important contributions to the transplanted cultures of their adopted countries. The Spark were among these contributors, for they have been located in early North American records:

Spark Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Ann Spark, who arrived in Virginia in 1628 4
  • George Spark, who settled in Witless Bay in 1676
Spark Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Edward Spark, who landed in Virginia in 1702 4
  • Thomas Spark, who landed in Maryland in 1716 4
Spark Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • James Spark, who arrived in New York, NY in 1815 4

Canada Spark migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Spark Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • William Spark, who settled in St. John's Harbour in 1703

Australia Spark migration to Australia +

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

Spark Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • A B Spark, who landed in Sydney, Australia in 1839
  • Mr. Hugh Spark, British Convict who was convicted in Newcastle on Tyne, Nothumberland, England for 15 years, transported aboard the "Asia" on 25th April 1840, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) 5
  • Mr. James Spark, English convict who was convicted in London, England for 10 years, transported aboard the "Candahar" on 26th March 1842, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) 6

New Zealand Spark 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:

Spark Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Alexander Spark, aged 35, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Sir Charles Forbes" in 1842
  • Jane Spark, aged 29, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Sir Charles Forbes" in 1842
  • Margaret Jane Spark, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Sir Charles Forbes" in 1842
  • James Spark, aged 28, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Sir Charles Forbes" in 1842

Contemporary Notables of the name Spark (post 1700) +

  • Vicki Lyn "Victoria" Spark (1950-2006), American actress, known for The Sunday Man (2007), Flight 93: The Flight That Fought Back (2005) and Hollywood Unscripted: A Chaos Theory (2005)
  • Nick T. Spark, American film-maker and writer
  • Debra Spark (b. 1962), American short story writer, essayist, and editor
  • Jeannette "Jeany" Spark (b. 1982), English actress, best known for portraying Linda Wallander in the British television series Wallander
  • Alexander Brodie Spark (1792-1856), Scottish-born, free settler of Australia who rose to become an Australian merchant of sugar, wines and alcohol and various drapery in Sydney
  • Alexander McAlpine "Alex" Spark (1949-1993), Scottish former footballer who played from 1967 to 1978
  • Dame Muriel Sarah Spark (1918-2006), Scottish novelist, short story writer, poet and essayist; named one of "the 50 greatest British writers since 1945" in 2008

  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. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. 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.
  4. 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)
  5. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 17th January 2020). Retrieved from
  6. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 9th December 2020). Retrieved from on Facebook