Guild of One-Name Studies
One-name studies, Genealogy
Variants: Dracas, Dracass, Drakehas, Drax, Draykas
Category: 3 - A study where research using core genealogical datasets and transcriptions is well under way on a global basis.
DNA website: www.drakesfamily.org/id57.htm
Contact: Mr Chris Drakes
The Drakes One-Name study commenced in 1970. Like many one-name studies, it grew out of an attempt to trace my own ancestry. I was seeking the baptism of my 4 x great-grandfather Daniel Drakes/Dracas in the IGI and Parish Registers without success and began to gather an increasing collection of Drakes/Dracas entries. Daniel eventually turned up as Daniel Drakehurst at a nearby village, which I later discovered at Lincoln Archives, is locally renowned for weird spellings in the Parish Registers for a period of over 100 years. His surname appears in various records as, Drakehurst, Draykas, Drakehas, Dracas, Dracus, Draker, Dracass, Drakes, and Drakelas. The only way I could confirm that this was him, was to eliminate all other possibilities and prove that the ‘Drakehurst’ surname only existed for the period when his ‘Dracas’ family disappeared from Parish records, which I eventually did.
I have over 5,400 pages of trees and notes about individuals and their ancestors worldwide, with these surnames, plus numerous other supporting files. I would be delighted to hear from anyone who is either studying these names or is related to one of them. I will do my best to help where I can and my work is free and self-funded. My One-Name Study was registered with the Guild of One-Name Studies in 2014.
The registered variants of the name are Drax, Dracas, Dracass, Drakehas, and Draykas.
There are numerous other variants in various records including: Draix, Draxe, Drakehurst, Dracus, Draker, Drakelas, & Dracos, some of which are transcription errors and some, such as 'Dracos', are non-related European surnames. I have even seen the ‘D’ transcribed as ‘C’ in one online index.
The present-day families with these surnames predominantly originate in an area 25 miles north to south immediately below the Humber estuary in Lincolnshire & 50 miles west to east from Darfield, West Yorks., to Old Clee, Lincs. The earliest person known to me with the surname 'Drax' (and 'Drakes') was born in Normandy, France in 1126; he came to England with Henry II in 1154.
The West Indian (mainly Barbados) 'Drakes', many of whom now live in the USA & Canada, appear to have taken their surname from the Drax Plantation in Barbados, and thus may or may not be blood-related to the original sugar plantation estate owners, who are themselves related to the Drax family of Darfield, West Yorkshire, England, and cannot prove their lineage back to the 1126 Drax (see above), though they were later awarded the same coat of arms, which had long-since been lost when the original bearer died without issue in the army of The Black Prince in Spain.
Many of the 'Drakes' family of northwest Lincolnshire, England, have sadly dropped the all-important 's' and are now 'Drake', which is widespread a multi-origin surname and is not otherwise related to 'Drakes'.
The only other 'Drakes' lines are a family in Cornwall, and a few instances in Ireland, both of which appear to be ‘Drake’ and to have added an ‘s’. I have not found any evidence to link them to the ‘Drakes’ elsewhere.
Prior to the mid-18th century, there was no standard National English Dictionary and spellings were phonetic; words and names could be spelt differently in the same document, sometimes even on the same line.
Drax and Drakes are interchangeable in historic records for the same individuals; most names ending in ‘x’ can also be found ending in ‘kes’. Dracas is their Latin form, and is frequently used in early official church records.
The Drax (Drakes) surname in the UK originates with a Geoffrey Drax (Drakes) who was born in 1126 Normandy, France, first came to England with Empress Matilda in 1154 in a failed attempt to wrest the throne from her cousin King Stephen. He returned to England later in 1154 with Henry Plantagenet (Henry II) and was awarded lands in Kent. I cannot find any link to the village of ‘Drax’ in West Yorkshire, which has a Roman or pre-Roman origin. Drakes is not related to ‘Drake’ except where an individual has dropped the ‘s’, and this is normally only in North West Lincolnshire.
The black West Indian, and American ‘Drakes’ lines appear to be descended from former slaves on the ‘Drax’ estates in Barbados & Jamaica. It is interesting to note that there appear to be no present-day ‘Drax’ families on Barbados, but there are numerous ‘Drakes’. Historically these two names were interchangeable.
My website is at: http://www.drakesfamily.org.
You may find our other Guild websites of interest: