Guild of One-Name Studies
One-name studies, Genealogy
Variants: Poak, Poake, Poke, Poock, Pooke
Category: 3 - A study where research using core genealogical datasets and transcriptions is well under way on a global basis.
Contact: Mrs Margaret Spiller
I began researching my father's family in 1987 and, as the name was unusual, this soon developed into a One Name Study. I registered the name with the Guild in 1988. My original thought was that it would be quite a rare name, as I had never met anyone else with this surname other than my immediate family; however, although not a common name, there turned out to be far more Pooks than I had anticipated.
The aims of the study are :-
The surname POOK historically occurs in Southern England, in the Low Countries and in Northern Germany. In the Middle Ages, the surname appears in Devon, in Sussex and occasionally in neighbouring counties. Surname dictionaries often point to a possible Dutch origin and, as the earliest Devon references are to town dwellers in Tiverton, a noted centre of the medieval wool trade, it is possible that the surname was brought over from the Continent by immigrants engaged in this trade. Sussex was also a centre for the medieval wool trade and the early occurrence of the name in this county might have arisen from a separate immigrants. The surnames POKE and POAK(E) do not appear on the continent.
The meaning(s) of the surname and its variants are :-
A selection of interesting holders of the surname includes :-
Although not a common name, it is certainly not as rare as I had originally thought and there continue to be a healthy number of POOK births each year. There are far fewer of the variants but, other than POOCK which has more or less died out in Britain, they remain strong.
I collected Telephone entries from Britain and from other parts of the world in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Using the multiplier 3.7 obtained from the Surname Atlas published around this time, I have come up with an estimated world population for the surname and its variants as follows :-
__________ TOTAL 4600 __________
Of the above, 34% of the entries come from the UK, 24% from West Germany, 22% from Commonwealth Countries and 20% from the United States. I have no telephone details for the Netherlands or Belgium or for former East Germany; however, my listing include 8 subscribers with the surname POOK from Singapore who appear top be of Chinese or Oriental origin. Any of the above factors could significantly alter the frequency of the surname.
Up until the 19th Century the British POOKs were largely confined to the Southern Counties of England and to London. The largest concentration occurred in Devon in the Exe valley and around the coast to Plymouth. A second large concentration occurred in East Sussex. From the mid 18th Century, several families moved to Portsmouth and by the 19th Century there was a substantial concentration of POOKs here.
POOKs could be found living in London from the 17th Century onwards and this accelerated in the 19th Century. They also moved in some numbers to Bristol and South Wales in the 19th Century as well as further afield to places such as Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester, Yorkshire and Durham. There have been a few POOKs in Scotland since the 16th century, possibly descended from an Edinburgh sheathmaker.
The POOCKs only arrived in England in the late 17th century and according to family legend they came over from Holland with William of Orange in or around 1689. The POOCKs were concentrated in Norfolk and the London area.
POKE has a similar distribution to POOK with the largest concentration being in Devon, but the surname also occurs in Sussex and, since the early 17th century, in London. The alternative POAK occurred in Scotland in the 17th and 18th centuries as well as in Devon.
From the 18th Century onwards, the name POOK and its variants has spread across the globe, mainly to English speaking countries. The POOKs and POKEs arrived in the United States in the 18th Century and were followed by the POOCKs from Germany in the 19th Century. Canada, Australia and New Zealand also saw the arrival of POOKs in the 19th Century and the large number of POKEs now in Tasmania all descend from one couple from Sussex.
According to the IGI, the surname POOK/POOCK has occurred in the Netherlands since at least the 16th century and in Northern Germany since the 17th Century.
DESCRIPTION OF DATA COLLECTED
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