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About the study

(Updated on 8th Jan 2017)

This study covers the family names Marker Marcher and Marcker. These names are strong in Denmark particularly on the Island of Bornholm where they are all the most dense concentration (in fpm - freq-per-million) of each variant, in the world. 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.  The Italian source identifies the Marche region as originally 'Marca Anconetana'.  The pronunciation appears to rhyme 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.

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' defensible border zone as distinct form an unfortified boundary.

March or Marche, as already mentioned, in Danish and old English were sounded as 'Mark'. Then some spellings influenced by Norman French used 'c' as in March/Marche (but 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.

Warriors sent to a Mark/Marche became known as Marker/Marcher/Marckers.

People who lived near or in a Mark are likely to be called Mark/Marke which reflects the difference between having a locational name versus an occupational name ('er' on a name reflects an occupation).

An alternate possibility for some German Markers (that needs investigation) is the possibility that professional Moneylenders/Finaciers who dealt with the currency - the 'Mark', may have been named Marker.

History 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.

Historical occurrences for Marker include ...

- In 1440 a chaplain in Exeter Devon was knighted 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 immediately 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.

- In the period 1790-1830s three family related 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).

- Lt Col Raymond Marker of Devon was Aide-de-camp to Lord Kitchener in India

- Jamsheed Marker become under secretary to Kofi Annan when Kofi Anan was head of the UN

Name frequency

All three variants of the name have their densest numbers on Bornholm. 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)

Distribution of the name

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


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