by Warren Tooker
Existing genealogy records in America for both Tooker and Tucker often
go back to John Tucker who emigrated from England to the American Colonies
to escape religious persecution—he was a Puritan. It is not definitely know
why the Tookers used the Tucker form of the name for a time, but perhaps it
was to escape religious or political persecution. It appears they began to
use the Tooker spelling again at about the time of the restoration of King
Charles II (1660). John’s son, known as Captain John Tooker (1692), became a
prominent citizen of Long Island, NY, and his brother, Charles, was one of the
original founders of Elizabeth Towne, NJ.
Most American Tookers are likely related through Captain John or his brother,
Charles. The names Tucker and Tooker existed in England prior to the founding
of the American Colonies. The Tooker form of the name was found mainly around
Bideford in Devon in the south of England. The exhaustive Dictionary of Surnames
(Hanks & Hodges, Oxford University Press) does not list Tooker either separately,
or with the surname Tucker, so the name is not generally recognized in Britain, and
only a few Tookers are found in present day telephone books there. Regarding Tucker,
the Dictionary of Surnames says:
Tucker - English . . . occupational name for a fuller, from an agent derivative of
Middle English tuck(en) to full cloth (Old English tucian to torment). This was the
term used for the process in the Middle Ages in southwest England. . . (Fuller and
Walker are other surnames for the same occupation.)
During the Industrial Revolution the cloth industry became established in southwest
England. The woolen cloth was brought from the looms and the tuckers treated, soaped
and put them in the fulling mills to work them until they were thick. Then they would
draw water into them and scour them. The resulting serge was exported throughout Europe.
In later years some of the Tookers became prominent as mariners.
The DAR documents eight Tookers as American Patriots of the Revolutionary War. Look for them under Tidbits.
In the accompanying databases you will find both Tookers and Tuckers tracing their
ancestries back to the same persons. Why some descendants of John Tucker/Tooker
adopted one form of the name while others adopted the other spelling is not known.
Whichever name you use, we hope that this site will help you find your ancestral origins.
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