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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Surname Saturday - PARKER

PARKER - What's in your name?

I found this article posted in a newspaper in the 1970's.  I thought it was interesting and falls in line with the Blog topic for today.

I have transcribed it below:

  In medieval times most English lords had portions of their estates set aside as park land, hunting preserves, or deer parks. One member of their official household was in charge of his preserve and was known by the title "gameskeeper" or "parker." The present day surname Parker owes its origin to this occupation or position.

  The word, itself, comes from the Old French "parquier, parchir" meaning a gameskeeper.  Its French roots are a definite indication that the surname evolved after the Norman conquest of England in 1065. Early records lend credence to this opinion for it is not until 1083 that we find a record of the name in England.  In that year an Anschetil Parcher is listed in the Domesday Bank in Somerset.

  While most of the early Parkers were servants of various English lords, at least one family of Earls of Macclesfield and of Morley, Sir Thomas Parker, the first Earl of Macclesfield, was Lord Chancellor of England in 1718.  In 1725 he was impeached and found guilty of embezzlement.

  The distribution of the name is quite widespread and it is not restricted to the limited areas of England. In a few instances the name disguises the medieval name Porker meaning "swineherd".

  Matthew Parker served as the chaplain to Anne Boleyn.  Other Parkers of note include Dorothy Parker, the American writer, Isaac Parker, the American jurist who was instrumental in the creation of Harvard Law School, and Theodore Parker, Massachusetts Unitarian clergy, who was a leading 19th century abolitionist.

The Parker cost of arms depicted above is but one of the many which are recorded for the name.

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