Select Parker Surname Genealogy

Parker comes from the Old French parquier, meaning "keeper of the park."  Parker was also a nickname for a gamekeeper. 

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England.   The earliest Parker reference was a Johannes le Parquier or Parcar from Normandy who died in England around 1136.  His family line continued in Yorkshire. 

One Parker family has traced their ancestry back to the 13th century when they were park keepers to John of Gaunt in the Forest of Bowland in Lancashire.  They appeared in the Ribble valley in the 15th century, first at Horrocksford and then at Brownsholme.  The Parkers were Bowbearers of the Forest of Bowland during the 17th and 18th centuries.  Their home of Brownsholme Hall, still with the Parker family, is the oldest surviving family home in Lancashire. 

Robert Parker, born in the Forest of Bowland in the early 1700's, moved across the Pennines to Halifax where he became a well-known local lawyer.  His home in Halifax was Clare Hall. 

Another early Parker family was of Bulwell and Norton Lees and dated back to the early 14th century.  A branch of this family subsequently moved to Park Hall in Staffordshire and prospered in the legal profession:

Another early Parker family was to be found at Bulwell in Nottinghamshire in the 14th century and later at Norton Lees on the Derbyshire/Yorkshire border.  A branch of this family subsequently moved to Park Hall in Staffordshire and prospered in the legal profession: 
  • Baron Parker of Macclesfield became Lord Chancellor in 1718 but was convicted of corruption and ended his life in a debtor's prison.   
  • a later Parker of the family, William Parker, joined the Navy and was Commander of the British Mediterranean fleet in the 1840ís.   
Southern outposts at that time were Morley in Norfolk, Great Burstead in Essex, Tenterden in Kent, and North Molton in Devon.  The Parker line from Morley included Matthew Parker, Archbishop of Canterbury from 1559 to 1575, and supposedly Robert Parker, better known in America as the outlaw Butch Cassidy.  

The Parker distribution by the 19th century still showed very much a northern bias. 

  Parkers in Ireland were generally of English origin. 

An early arrival was John Parker from Kent, appointed constable of Dublin castle in 1543.  Captain John Parker from Devon was granted land in Tipperary in 1667.  His descendants, based at Castlelough, had become extensive landowners in the county by the 19th century.  Michael Parker came to Ireland with King Williamís army in the 1690ís.  His descendants were Cork merchants. 

America.  Family tradition has it that three brothers Ė Abraham, James, and Thomas Ė came to New England in the 1630ís and settled in three different places, Chelmsford, Groton, and Reading.  These Parkers may have been related, but it is doubtful if they were all brothers.  James Parker made his mark in Groton, Massachusetts.  One line from Thomas Parker led to the hunter Nathaniel Parker, an early settler in West Virginia and then in Tennessee.

Other early Parker arrivals in New England included: 
  • another Thomas Parker, the son of a Puritan clergyman, who founded the town of Newbury, Massachusetts in 1635.  He died childless.  
  • the brothers Joseph and Nathan Parker, who were in Newbury by 1642 and later moved to Andover. 
  • George Parker, a carpenter who had come to Rhode Island in 1638 (the year he was put in the stocks there for drunkenness).  He was resident in Portsmouth until his death in 1656.  
  • William Parker, who was one of the founders of Hartford, Connecticut.  He later settled in Saybrook. 
  • and two brothers Elisha and Robert Parker who were at Barnstable on Cape Cod by the 1650ís.   
William Parker married without approval the daughter of the Earl of Derby in 1703 and they fled to Portsmouth, New Hampshire soon after.  Many of their descendants were clergymen, including Samuel Parker who was appointed an Episcopal Bishop in 1804.

John Parker, born in Baltimore in 1758, was a famous frontier Ranger and early settler in Texas.  He was immortalized in death when he was killed by Comanche Indians in the Fort Parker massacre of 1836.  It was his granddaughter Cynthia who was taken and adopted by the Comanches and her son Quanah Parker who was to lead the tribe at their Oklahoma reservation.

Canada.  Benjamin Parker, a mariner and fish merchant, left Cape Cod in Massachusetts for Liverpool, Nova Scotia in the 1750ís.  His eldest son Snow Parker was to prosper there in trading, shipbuilding and privateering, which was to make him an extremely wealthy man.

Another Benjamin Parker, this time from New Jersey, came to New Brunswick in 1783 together with other Parker relatives.  Some of them settled on Campobello island.  Others moved to Nova Scotia.  Many became fishermen.  These Parkers had come from the Elisha Parker Cape Cod line

Select Parker Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for further stories and accounts:

Select Parker Names

Matthew Parker
was Archbishop of Canterbury in 1559 and a leader of Anglican thought in his time.  He was called "Nosey Parker" because he kept poking his nose into matters that should not concern him.
Quanah Parker was in the 1870's the last of the Comanche war chiefs.
George and Charles Parker founded their board game company Parker Brothers in 1888.   Their best-known game was Monopoly which came out during the Depression.  In the same year of 1888 another George Parker founded the Parker Pen Company.
Dorothy Parker, born Dorothy Rothschild, was an American writer and critic noted for her acerbic wit, associated with The New Yorker and the Algonquin Round Table.
Bonnie Parker was the Bonnie in Bonnie and Clyde, the 1930's outlaws later portrayed in film.
Charlie Parker was the great jazz saxophonist, a founder of be-bop in the 1940's.
Alan Parker is a British film director.

Select Parkers Today
  • 110,000 in the UK (most numerous in Yorkshire)
  • 124,000 in America (most numerous in Texas)
  • 46,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)

Select Surname List

Adams Ellis Johnson O'Connor
Allen Evans Jones O'Sullivan Shaw
Anderson Fisher
Kelly Parker Simpson
Bailey Foster Kennedy Perry Smith
Baker Fox King Peterson Stevens
Barnes Fraser 
Lee Phillips Stewart
Bell Graham Lewis Powell Taylor
Bennett Gray Marshall Price Thomas
Brown Green Martin Reed
Griffiths Mason      
Reynolds Turner
Campbell Hall McDonald Richards
Carter Hamilton Miller  Richardson Walsh
Chapman Harris Mitchell Roberts Ward
Clark Harrison
Moore Robertson Watson
Collins Henderson Morgan Robinson White
Cook Hill Morris Rogers Williams
Cooper Howard Murphy Ross Wilson
Cox Hughes Murray Russell Wood
Davis Jackson Nelson Ryan Wright
Edwards James O'Brien 

For other surnames check the surnames2 page where there are to be found the history and genealogy for more than 800 surnames.

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