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Baker Family History
This ancient surname is of Old English pre 8th century origins deriving from the word 'baecere' a derivative of 'bakan' - to bake. The surname was always occupational, but not always for a maker of bread. There are a number of possible origins and these include an official with special responsibilities for the baking ovens in a monastery or castle, as well as the keeper of the 'communal kitchen' in a town or village, since most of the humbler households had no cooking facilities other than a pot over a fire. The right to be in charge of this service and to exact money or loaves in return for its use, was in many parts of Britain, a hereditary feudal privilege. It could also be used for someone who baked pottery or bricks.
1) From Middle English 'bakere' See above. 2) This occupational surname has also been used as an Anglicised/Americanized form of cognates such as German Bäcker, Becker; Dutch Bakker; also as an equivalent of French Boulanger. It is often a Jewish (Ashkenazic) surname.
Early forms of (1): William le Bakere, Norfolk 1177 (Pipe Rolls); Robert Bakere, Lancashire 1246 (Assize Rolls); Walter le Baker, Devon 1271 (Hundred Rolls): John le Bakere, Somerset (1 Edward 111, Kirby's Quest) and Roger le Baker, Somerset (ibid); Simon Bakere, Canterbury, Kent 1381 (Poll Tax).
Examples of (2): Israel Baker, born in Poland, Leeds 1881 (Census); Isaac Baker, born in Russia, Whitechapel, Middlesex 1901 (Census).
In 1881 the name was most numerous in London and the South East, particularly Kent and Surrey, and also in Somerset, from which the Bakers of Bristol would derive, and Staffordshire and Lancashire. In Somerset the surname ranked second in the 1881 Census; and in Kent it occupied fourth rank. The total frequency for England and Wales in 1891 was 67,561. The Somerset frequency was 3,367, and that of Kent 4,182.
Most Bakers who were working in 1881 were agricultural labourers.
The surname, as le Bakere, was found in Ireland as early as the 13th century.
Charles Baker, one of 190 convicts transported on the Asia, 01 April 1822 was convicted at the Bristol City Quarter Sessions. Elisha Baker, who was on the same transport, was convicted at the Norfolk Quarter Sessions.
There are many different coats of arms recorded for Baker, including German and Dutch arms for the Anglicised/Americanized cognate names.
1881, 1891 Census
Homes of Family Names in Great Britain, H.B. Guppy, London 1890
A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames, C.W.E. Bardsley, London 1872-96
Dictionary of American Family Names, P. Hanks, Oxford 2003
The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain & Ireland, eds Hanks, Coates, McClure, 2016
The Surnames of Ireland, E. MacLysaght, Dublin 1985
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