Guild of One-Name Studies
One-name studies, Genealogy
Variants: Elderken, Elderkens, Elderkins, Elderkyn, Elderskin
Category: 1 - A study where research using core genealogical datasets and transcriptions is in its early stages.
Contact: Mrs Sheridan Parsons
This one name study for the Elderkin name arose from my interest in a member of my own family. My 3 x great grandmother was Ann Elderkin, born in 1799 in Great Stukeley, Huntingdonshire, England, and died in 1876 in Chawston, Bedfordshire, England. The study is still in its early stages, but I hope to add my findings to WikiTree in due course.
The predominant spelling is Elderkin, and very few alternative spellings are used. Here are some of the variations (which may of course be down to mistranscription, clerical embellishment, error, or preference).
16th century records: Elderkyn, Elderkey, Elderkine, Elderker, Elderkins, Elderkines.
17th century records: Elderskin, Elderkyn, Ellderkyn.
18th century records Elderkinn, Elderk, Elderken.
19th century records: Elderskin, Elderkan, Elderken, Elderkens, Elderkim, Elderkins.
There may be associations with similar names such as Ellikin or Ellikins, but these are beyond the scope of this study.
According to Henry Harrison in ‘Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary’ (Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013) the last name Elderkin could have been a nickname for someone who was a dweller at, or near, an elder tree.
According to Eldson Coles Smith in the New Dictionary of American Family Names (New York, Harper & Row, 1956) the last name Elderkin comes from the noble Boernician clans of the Scottish-English border region. It is a name given to a person who was the elder of two people bearing the same name. The dictionary also suggests that the name could be derived from the Old English word ealdra, which means elder.
It could therefore be speculated that the origins of the name should be traced back to include the last name Elder, and even references to the suffix ‘ye elder’. I am not intending to divert that far, not to investigate other last names derived from Elder such as Eldarson, Elderson, Ellderson and Eldersham.
Genealogy of the Elderkin Family [links to archive.org] is an antiquarian book published by Dyer White Elderkin in 1888. The full title is: “Genealogy of the Elderkin Family with intermarriages containing Family Records From John 1st, Who Came From England in A. D. 1637 and Located in Massachusetts, Through Ten Generations to 1886; With Biographical Sketches of Nearly All and Present Address of the Living Adult Members of the Family. Also, an appendix, containing a few of the author’s original articles on theories of science, pathology and theology by Elderkin, Dyer White.” The preface states: “The older portion of the biographical sketches and family records was obtained by William L Weaver, of Willimantic Connecticut, and furnished by Mrs Fanny Elderkin, widow of Noble S Elderkin, of Potsdam, St Lawrence county, New York. Mrs ]ane E Lefiingwell, of Dansville, New York, and Miss Mary Anne Roberts, of 690 West Monroe Street, Chicago, Illinois, contributed largely to the stock of facts. I am also indebted to W J Brewster, Hannibal, New York; Miss Harriet N Elderkin, Ashville, New York; Henry A Jackson, proprietor of the Parcels House, Kirksville, Adair county, Missouri; H A Brewster, 395 Roberts Street, St Paul, Minnesota, and others for valuable information. D.W.E.” This book does not cover any Elderkins in England, except the originator of the American lines, John 1st.
Some early instances I have found using the name Elderkin and its alternative spellings in Britain include:
1564 Jone Elderkey baptism, London
1572 Ralf Elderker burial, Cheddington, Buckinghamshire
1574 Thomas Elderkyn probate index, Northamptonshire and Rutland
1592 Thomas Elderkine baptism, Dean, Bedfordshire
1595 Briget Elderkin baptism, Dean, Bedfordshire
1595 Johannes Elderkyn baptism, Sutton St James, Lincolnshire
1600 Thomas Elderkin baptism, Sutton St James, Lincolnshire
1612 Anne Elderkyn baptism, Harrow on the Hill, London
1614 John Ellderkyn baptism, Wrangle, Lincolnshire
1638 Elizabeth Elderskin baptism, Sutton St James, Lincolnshire
In the 1841 census, according to the Genealogist, there are only 127 Elderkins listed. Ancestry gives 131 results for an 1841 census search. Ancestry reveals additional Elderkins in Cambridgeshire which do not appear in the Genealogist’s list. In 1851 there is a slight increase to 149 individuals. Jumping to the 1911 census there are 258 Elderkins.
In the 1841 Census Elderkins are distributed as follows:
By 1851 the Somerset and Suffolk groups have disappeared, but the Genealogist shows new settlements in Cambridgeshire and Lancashire.
In the 1911 census there is a much wider distribution, although the greatest concentration is still in Northamptonshire:
I am collecting various datasets on my personal website here.
Through my own DNA research I am aware of several Elderkin DNA matches on Ancestry, but as yet I have been unable to link certain parts of the family tree together. I am hopeful that a thorough study will allow those carrying the Elderkin DNA to make more sense of their matches.
Elderkin One Name Study - this category on my personal website contains a growing collection of Elderkin pages. These include information on convicts, baptisms, distribution, notable Elderkins etc.
You may find our other Guild websites of interest: