Tanksley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Tanksley was brought to England in the great wave of migration following the Norman Conquest of 1066. It comes from the ancient Norman given name Tancred. The Tanksley variant is indeed rare. However, this name traces its origin to Roger Tankerlayman who was listed in Yorkshire in 1387. [1]

Tankersley is a parish, in the union of Wortley, wapentake of Staincross, in the West Riding of Yorkshire [2] and dates back to the Domesday Book of 1086 when it was first listed as Tancresleia. [3] Literally the place name means "woodland clearing of a man called Thancred," from the Old English personal name + "leah." [4]

Early Origins of the Tanksley family

The surname Tanksley was first found in Yorkshire where they held a family seat as Lords of the manor of Boroughbridge in that shire. They were descended from Tancred, son of the Good Marqis, who governed the principality of Antioch as Guardian of the Emperor Bohemond II. Tancred, whose barony was in Normandy in 912 A.D. was also the sire of the celebrated Tankervilles. Whixley in the West Riding of Yorkshire was home to one branch of the family.

"The living [of Whixley] is a perpetual curacy, valued in the king's books at £7. 17. 1.; net income, £68; patrons and impropriators, the Governors of the Tancred charities. Christopher Tancred, Esq., whose family were long seated at the Hall, at his death in 1754, left his house to be converted into an hospital for twelve decayed gentlemen, and endowed it with estates which, in 1815, were let for £2480 per annum." [2]

Much father to the south in Cornwall, the Tencreek family was found. This variant is rare today but at one time, they held many manors and estates. By example, at one time the manor of Ellenglaze, in St. Cuthbert belonged to the family of Tencreek. [5]

Early History of the Tanksley family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Tanksley research. Another 88 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1187, 1663, 1703, 1665, 1744, 1759, 1689, 1754, 1685 and 1686 are included under the topic Early Tanksley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Tanksley Spelling Variations

A multitude of spelling variations characterize Norman surnames. Many variations occurred because Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England also had a pronounced effect, as did the court languages of Latin and French. Therefore, one person was often referred to by several different spellings in a single lifetime. The various spellings include Tancred, Tancard, Tancert, Tancrette, Tankard and many more.

Early Notables of the Tanksley family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Sir Thomas Tancred, 1st Baronet (d. 1663), descendant of Richard Tankard, who owned lands at Boroughbridge in Yorkshire; Sir William Tancred, 2nd Baronet (d. 1703); Sir Thomas Tancred, 3rd Baronet (1665-1744); and Sir Thomas Tancred, 4th Baronet (d. 1759). Christopher Tancred (1689-1754), was an English benefactor, born Whixley, the second...
Another 56 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Tanksley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Tanksley family to Ireland

Some of the Tanksley family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Tanksley migration to the United States +

Many English families left England, to avoid the chaos of their homeland and migrated to the many British colonies abroad. Although the conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and some travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute, once in the colonies, many of the families prospered and made valuable contributions to the cultures of what would become the United States and Canada. Research into the origins of individual families in North America has revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Tanksley or a variant listed above:

Tanksley Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Albert Tanksley, aged 29, destined for Nashville, Tenn., arrived in New York in 1918 aboard the ship "Espagne" from Bordeaux, France [6]
  • Albert Tanksley, aged 34, arrived in New York in 1922 aboard the ship "Chicago" from Le Havre, France [7]
  • Suzanne Tanksley, aged 30, arrived in New York in 1922 aboard the ship "Chicago" from Le Havre, France [8]

Contemporary Notables of the name Tanksley (post 1700) +

  • Joshua O'Neil Tanksley (b. 1986), American actor, known for CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story (2013), Step Off (2011) and Stomp the Yard 2: Homecoming (2010)
  • Charles B. Tanksley (b. 1952), American politician, five-term member of the Georgia Senate (1995-2004)
  • Steven Dale Tanksley, American Liberty Hyde Bailey Professor of Plant breeding and Biometry, Chair of the Genomics Initiative Task Force at Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • Peggy E. Tanksley, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Ohio, 2000, 2004, 2008 [9]


  1. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  3. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  4. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  5. ^ Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print
  6. ^ "New York Passenger Arrival Lists (Ellis Island), 1892-1924," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JJ88-DPK : 6 December 2014), Albert Tanksley, 21 Mar 1918; citing departure port Bordeaux, arrival port New York, ship name Espagne, NARA microfilm publication T715 and M237 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
  7. ^ "New York Passenger Arrival Lists (Ellis Island), 1892-1924," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JNGN-PWT : 6 December 2014), Albert Tanksley, 14 Jul 1922; citing departure port Le Havre, arrival port New York, ship name Chicago, NARA microfilm publication T715 and M237 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
  8. ^ "New York Passenger Arrival Lists (Ellis Island), 1892-1924," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JNGN-PWY : 6 December 2014), Suzanne Tanksley, 14 Jul 1922; citing departure port Le Havre, arrival port New York, ship name Chicago, NARA microfilm publication T715 and M237 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
  9. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 20) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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