WALKER-L Archives

Archiver > WALKER > 1998-12 > 0913950389

Subject: Re: [WALKER-L] Where does WALKER come from
Date: Thu, 17 Dec 1998 19:06:29 -0800


Thanks for the series of notes on the origin of the WALKER name. Some
sound familiar, but nice to have the varying theories. So interesting that
I'll put them in my files for future reference. The eye-opener, though, was
the statistical count. After a number of years searching WALKERs I
independently concluded that the name was as common to the South as Smith in
the NY phone book.

No messengers shot from California.


-----Original Message-----
From: James E. Walker <>
To: <>
Date: Thursday, December 17, 1998 5:30 PM
Subject: [WALKER-L] Where does WALKER come from

>Over the past few years I have been collecting "stories" about where the
>name WALKER came from. This is what I have compiled. Please don't shoot the
>messenger, It is only suggested that the name started this way.
> Where does the name WALKER come from
>1. In the old days the landed estates of the King of England were patrolled
>by Royal guardsmen who were required to "walk" over and inspect a certain
>area every day. In this way they cane to be known as "walkers", and finally
>the term denoting their occupation was adopted as a surname.
>2. During the Civil war in England a large contingent of the Walkers were
>staunch adherents of the Stuarts and when that dynasty fell into temporary
>eclipse at the hands of Cromwell and his Roundheads, Cavalier heads were at
>a premium. Many of the Walkers, having no inclination to lower the price by
>placing their own on the market, sought on foreign soil the safety denied
>them at home. Among them was a family whose roll contained a Peter, whose
>father had spent a fortune in the royal cause and fled to Ireland, where
>Walkers were practically unknown. The Encyclopedia of Heraldry, in listing
>the coat of arms of this family name with it's "Nil Desperandum" motto,
>gives in a record of fifty-two, only one from the Emerald Isle.
>(Both notes taken from a bibliography of Thomas Walker in the GA section of
>the Clayton Genealogy , Houston , TX .... Thomas Walker..."A Lost
>or the Story of My Old Community" by Walter A. Clark, Augusta Georgia,
>3. Another account tells ... The Walker name comes from the ancient
>of "Wauking" cloth. In Medieval times, raw cloth was scoured and thickened
>by beating and trampling it in a trough filled with water. In Western and
>Northern England and in Scotland, the making of cloth was called "Walking"
>and those engaged in the occupation were called "walkers" As many as
>fourteen "walkers" would gather around the wet cloth, which was placed on a
>specially prepared board, and trample it while singing songs about the
>making of cloth. It is in this same area that the name Walker was found
>primarily and it is from this occupation that the name WALKER is derived.
>So, most of the Walkers of America came from Northern or Western England or
>Scotland. As early as 1539 the name WALKER begins to appear in the records
>of England and Scotland. Walker families began their migration to America
>the late 1600's and by the time the first United States population census
>was taken in 1790, there were 1,014 heads of families by the name of Walker
>with 4,602 members of families. One hundred and sixty five of them were
>living in North Carolina at this time. By the year 1957, when the national
>government made a survey to determine the most common names in the United
>States by using the Social Security rolls as a source, it was found that
>WALKER was the twentieth, there being 374,700 people by that name in the
>country at that time.(Notes from Sandra Olney Baytown TX)
>Fhucadair, Son of the fuller (of cloth), Scots "wauker" The name is now
>Englished Walker and doubtless most of our Highland Walkers were originally
>Mac an Fuchadairs, McInukidar. Most were supporters of the outlawed Clan
>MacGregor and were often fined for it. Some of us may want to look at these
>names if you find that your research goes to Scotland and then is lost. The
>WALKER name is recognized as a "sept" of the MacGregor Clan also of the
>Stweart of Appin Clan. A "sept" subgroup in a clan, often more tightly
>by ancestry than the larger clan - either starting as a clan or a "cadet"
>(younger) branch from a younger brother. (From "The Surnames of
>(See here is the association with cloth again)
>James E. Walker
>Marietta, GA

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