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About the study

(Updated on 21st June 2017)

This study covers the family names Marker Marcher and Marcker. These three names are strong in Denmark particularly on the Island of Bornholm where they are the most dense concentration in the world (in fpm - freq-per-million among the local population) for each variant. The name is also strong in Norway, Austria, Germany and UK. There also appears to be strong variant derived from Marche, in Marche Italy. Some of these variants are: Marche, Marchegiani, Marcheggiani,Marchegiano.  Our Italian source identifies the Marche (pron: Marc-he) region as originally 'Marca Anconetana'.  The pronunciation appears to rhyme best with Marka.

Many people named Marker have emigrated to the 'new world' including America, Australia, New Zealand and Argentina. There are also people named Marker in India And Pakistan. The largest number of people named marker today are in the USA. On 21st June 2017, locate-my-name estimates that there are 5613 people with the Marker surname in the USA. Next is Germany with an estimate of 1958 followed by Denmark with an estimate of 974 followed by UK with an estimate of 748 then Austria with an estimated count of 197.

All three variants of the name have their highest density (not in actual numbers), on the island Bornholm (Denmark). The statistics below are from recent world census data ...

- Marker = Denmark 117 fpm, Bornholm 2968 fpm, Telemark Norway 306 fpm, Austria 13 fpm.
- Marcher = Denmark 122 fpm, Bornholm 3174 fpm, Austria 48 fpm
- Marcker = Denmark 7 fpm, Bornholm 182 fpm, Netherlands 1.7 fpm
(fpm=frequency per millions)


Based on local 'density', the world distribution of people named

- Marker ...

#01 Denmark (Bornholm)
#02 USA
#03 Norway
#04 Australia
#05 Austria
#06 Germany
#07 New Zealand
#08 India
#09 Argentina
#10 United Kingdom

- Marcher

#01 Denmark
#02 Austria
#03 Sweden
#04 Italy
#05 France
#06 Germany
#07 USA
#08 Switzerland
#09 Belgium
#10 Norway

- Marcker

#01 Denmark
#02 Netherlands
#03 Argentina

Variant names

Marker, Marcher and Marcker are three obvious variants. All are phonetically the same when spoken in Danish or in old English.

Marc'h'er (silent 'h')

Name origin

Marker in its Danish origins is a derivative of the word 'Mark' which is defined as a 'fortified' or defensible border zone as distinct form an unfortified boundary or border. Thus a Mark is usually a border of a kingdom while the word border better describes a boundary between counties and parishes or other similar areas. 

March or Marche, as already mentioned, in Danish and old English were sounded as 'Mark' i.e. Marc-he. Later around the mid 1500s during a period of language consolidation in England,  some spellings that had become influenced by Norman French used 'c' as in March/Marche (but as already mentioned originally pronounced Marc'h' / Marc'h'e) and in modern English this has become Mar-'ch' / Mar-'ch'-e (with the 'ch' as in cheese). In England the spoken language evolved to where the 'c' turned from a 'k' sound to an to 's' sound. This change tends to complicate the modern phonetics of variants of the name spellings. (See The period after the conquest: Spelling during the Middle English period at this link ).

Warriors sent to defend a Mark/Marche could be called Marker/Marcher/Marckers. It was a name owned with authority and pride.

People who lived near or in a Mark might also be called Mark/Marke (this orgin needs confirmation). Names ending in 'er' tended to be occupational i.e. Baker, Shoemaker, Miller, Carter, Hooper, Farmer, Singer, Marker etc: ).

An alternate possibility for some German Markers (that needs deeper investigation) is the possibility that professional Moneylenders/Financiers, who dealt with the currency - the 'mark', may have been named Marker. The word 'mark' was long used in relation to currency Germany and Denmark and many other parts of North West Europe around 1000CE.

Historical occurrences of the name

The Marker/Marcher/Marcker name, in Denmark, England and Germany, goes back in most cases to the earliest recorded regular use of surnames. It is thus amongst the older family names on record in each of those countries.

Coats-of-arms: Several coats-of-arms show in  appears there are three coat-of-arms in England for the name Marker. At least another one shows up in Prussia Germany. 

Historical occurrences for Marker include ...

- In 1438 a chaplain in Exeter Devon was listed as Sir Walter Marker. 

- A Danish Royal Cavalry Officer named Wilhelm Marcher (Marker) had a child with Danish Princess Thyra in 1871. She gave birth to a daughter on 8 November, 1871 named Maria. The girl was adopted by a family named Jorgensen and was renamed Kate. Back in Denmark, Wilhelm Marcher was forbidden from seeing Thyra again or knowing the fate of his child. He committed suicide on 4 January, 1872 after having had a confrontation with the King over the matter.

- In the period 1790-1830s three (related by family) Church of England Reverends from Devon named Marker graduated from both Cambridge and Oxford Universities. Rev W Henry Marker (Camb 1797 & 1803), Rev Henry W Marker (Oxford 1825), Rev Thomas John Marker (Oxford 1833). However, deeper research suggests these line of Markers gained the name in the mid 1700s when a Rev George Townsend Smith (of high social status) married an heiress name Marker in Uffculme Devon, and as part of the marriage and by royal charter, he took on the family name of Marker. 

- Lt Col Raymond Marker of Devon was Aide-de-camp to Lord Kitchener in India. He is a descendant of the Uffculme Smith family who took on the Marker name. Later another name borrowing occurred in this same family line, when a great-grandson of Lt Col Raymond Marker, named Trelawny, inherited the Marker estate in Gittsham  Devon (Coombe House) and took on the family name of Marker. There is a Marker (really a Trelawny) still there today who remains lord of the manor at Gittsham.

- Jamsheed Marker become under secretary to Kofi Annan when Kofi Anan was head of the UN. It is not known where his family name originated but his ancestry is of the Parsees (Iranian origins) who settled in the Indian sub-continent and prospered as a trade dynasty working with the British East India company.

Name frequency


Distribution of the name



There is a DNA name project for these names at Family Tree DNA - it is the Marker/Marcher/Marcker Project.

The early evidence is that the Markers from Devon may be L11/P310 / DF100 / CTS4528