|Meaning||1. variant of Aiken, derived from Adam;
2. derived from the place name Kyle Akin, meaning "Haakon's Sound", "Haakon's Narrows";
3. from aik, meaning "oaken", "an oak";
4. from Atty, Arthur
5. Anglicisation of the Gaeilge surname O'hAodhagain
6. Anglicisation of the Gaeilge surname Ó'hÓgáin
|Region of origin||Scotland|
|Language(s) of origin||Scots|
|Related names||Aickin; Aiken; Aikin; Aikins; Akin; Eakins; Hagan; Mac Aodhagáin; McEachin; O'hAodhagain|
The name has several possible origins, although it is generally considered to be a variant of Aikens, which is considered to be a patronymic form of the name Aiken. These names are considered to be derived from the Scots personal name Aitken, which is a double diminutive form of the Biblical name Adam. The name is formed in part from Ad, the diminutive of Adam (the d has been sharpened to t); the name is also formed from the diminutive suffix -kin. George Fraser Black stated that the -s in the surnames Atkins, and Aitkins, represents "son"; and in consequence, that these names equate to Atkinson.
In 1946, Black noted that, according to John Paterson (in 1867), the surname Aiken was an old name in the parish of Ballantrae, Ayrshire; and that "in Orkney it is believed to have replaced the Old Norse name Haakon and its derivative Hakonson." Black also noted that the surname Aiken (and its variations: Aitken, Aitkin, Aitkins, Atkin, Atkins) have been stated by others to be derived from the names Atty ("little Atty"), and Arthur; although Black stated that he himself disagreed with this derivation, in favour of a diminutive of Adam (above).
In 1857, David MacGregor Peter noted a traditional derivation for the surname Aikman. The account states that the name Aikman originated from an officer who, while commanding troops that besieged Macbeth in Dunsinane Castle, told them to attack using oak branches. According to Peter, this officer was said to have been the progenitor of all Aikmans and Aikens in Scotland. Black, however, noted that this story was too silly to believe. In 1908, William Cutter noted the surname Aiken, and stated that antiquarians have derived the name from the word "aik", meaning "an oak", or "oaken". Black noted that within the heraldry of the name Aiken (and variations), the use oak is merely an example of canting heraldry.
Another possible derivation of the surname Akins, suggested by H. Amanda Robb and Andrew Chesler, as well as by Elsdon C. Smith, is that "the name was given to those who were from the area near Akin, a strait in Scotland named for King Hakon of Norway." The strait, known as Kyle Akin, is derived from the Scottish Gaelic Caol Acain, which means "Haakon's Sound", or "Haakon's Narrows".
In Ireland, the surname Aiken is considered to be of Scottish and English origin, and is most common in the province of Ulster. According to Robert Bell, Aiken is "the Scottish form of the English name Atkin, which comes from Adkin, a pet form of Adam." In the mid-19th century, the name was found to be the most popular in Ballymena, County Antrim. Michael C. O'Laughlin states that families of the surname Aiken (and variants: Ekin, Aikens, Aikins, Aicken, Aitken) are mostly of Scottish and English descent. O'Laughlin states that these names originate, in most cases, to the English name Aitken. Edward MacLysaght also notes that the Irish surname Aiken is the Scottish form of the English Aitken. According to William and Mary Durning, the names Aiken, Akins, and Eakin came to Ireland from Scotland during the Ulster Plantation of the 17th century where they were transplanted to the Irish counties of Antrim, Monaghan, and Down respectively.
In Ireland, the surname Aiken has also been used as an Anglicised form of an Irish language surname. O'Laughlin, and MacLysaght, note that Aiken as an Anglicised form of the Irish Ó hAodhagáin (frequently Anglicised as O'Hagan). The Irish Ó hAodhagáin means "descendant of Aodhagán". The personal name Aodhagán is a double diminutive of the name Aodh, which means "fire". Historically, the O'Hagans were centred in the County Tyrone; their chief was seated at Tullahogue, and had the hereditary right of inaugurating The O'Neill, as overlord of Ulster.
According to the Durnings, the surname Akin can also be an Anglicisation of the Irish name Ó hÓgáin (O'Eakin). The O'Eakins are stated to descend from the Irish Ui Tuirtre, who were descended from Fiach Tort, son of Colla Uais of the Oirghialla which were the descendants of Eochaid Doimlén, son of Cairbre Lifechair, son of Cormac Ulfhada and his wife Etaine, whose ancestry goes back another forty-nine generations in Ireland to its earliest Gaelic founders, the Milesians. MacLysaght notes that although the surname Aicken is generally of Scottish origin (as diminutive of Adam), it is also possibly an Anglicised form of the Irish Ó h-Aogáin.
According to Black, the first recorded appearance of the Scottish surname Aiken (and its variations: Aitken, Aitkin, Aitkins, Atkin, Atkins) occurs in the year 1405, in the court records of a Scottish sea merchant named "John of Akyne", who sought restitution for having been illegally detained for eight weeks by "Laurence Tuttebury of Hulle". According to Black, the "of" in John's name is an error. The first recorded use of the Aiken (and above variants) as a Scottish forename occurs in about the 1340, when "Atkyn de Barr", and "Atkyn Blake", are recorded in Ayr. The surnames and given names have undergone a variety of transformations in spelling over the years, and in consequence there are many variant forms of the name still in use today.
A total of 77 Akins appear in the 1881 Census of Great Britain, and was ranked the 3,502nd most common surname. A total of 220 Akins appear in the 1996 Electoral roll of Great Britain, and is ranked 3,835th most common surname. In Griffith's Valuation, a property survey of Ireland from 1848–1864, records 3 households of Akins in Ireland; 2 in County Donegal, and 1 in County Monaghan. Variations of the name were said to have been common in the parish of Ballantrae, as well as in the counties of Aberdeen, Fife, Lanark, Perth, Angus, Renfrew, Ayr, Dumbarton, Stirling and the Lothians. In Ireland the name is common only in Ulster, where many Scots colonists settled in the 17th century.
There were 16,860 people with the surname Akins recorded in the 2000 United States Census. It ranked as the 1,960th most common surname in the country. The surname was made up 65.59% White Americans, 30.34% Black Americans, 0.26% Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans, 0.73% American Indians and Alaska Natives, 1.7% Multiracial Americans, and 1.39% Hispanic Americans.
Research into the Y-chromosome DNA of Akins males who voluntarily submitted for genetic testing has revealed that a majority of those tested are patrilineally descended from various ancestors belonging to Haplogroup R1b1b2.
List of persons with the surname
- Chris Akins (born 1976), American football player
- Claude Akins (1926–1994), American actor
- Ellen Akins American novelist
- Frank Akins (born 1919), American football player
- James Akins, American classical tubist
- James E. Akins (1926–2010), U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia
- Rhett Akins (born 1969), American singer-songwriter
- Thomas Beamish Akins (1806–1891) Canadian historian
- Virgil Akins (born 1928), American boxer
- Zoë Akins (1886–1958), American playwright
- Akins Name Meaning and History, Ancestry.com, retrieved 3 July 2010 This webpage cited: Dictionary of American Family Names, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-508137-4
- Aikens Name Meaning and History, Ancestry.com, retrieved 3 July 2010 This webpage cited: Dictionary of American Family Names, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-508137-4
- Aitken Name Meaning and History, Ancestry.com, retrieved 3 July 2010 This webpage cited: Dictionary of American Family Names, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-508137-4
- Black, George Fraser (1946), The Surnames of Scotland: Their Origin, Meaning, and History, New York: New York Public Library, pp. 10–11
- Peter, David MacGregor (1857), The Baronage of Angus and Mearns, Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd, p. 3
- Black, George Fraser (1946), The Surnames of Scotland: Their Origin, Meaning, and History, New York: New York Public Library, pp. 11–12
- Cutter, William (1908), Genealogical and personal memoirs relating to the families of Boston and eastern Massachusetts, New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, p. 1032
- Robb, H. Amanda; Chesler, Andrew (1996), Encyclopedia of American Family Names, Harper Collins, p. [page needed]
- Smith, Elsdon Coles (1973) , New Dictionary of American Family Names, Harper & Row, p. 4, ISBN 0-06-013933-1
- Bell, Robert (1988), The Book of Irish Surnames, The Blackstaff Press, p. [page needed]
- Michael C. O'Laughlin (1997), The Book of Irish Families Great and Small, Irish Genealogical Foundation, p. 3
- MacLysaght, Edward (1964), A guide to Irish surnames (2 ed.), Genealogical Book Co., p. 19
- Durning, William; Durning, Mary (1991), The Scotch-Irish, La Mesa, California: Irish Family Names Society, p. [page needed]
- Michael C. O'Laughlin (1997), The Book of Irish Families Great and Small, Irish Genealogical Foundation, p. 135, "O'Hagan - O'hAodhagain: Hegan, Aiken, O'Hagain, O'Hagane, Fagan"
- MacLysaght, Edward (1972), Irish Families: Their Names, Arms and Origins, New York: Crown Publishers, p. 169
- Hagan Name Meaning and History, Ancestry.com, retrieved 30 July 2010 This webpage cited: Dictionary of American Family Names, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-508137-4
- Durning, William; Durning, Mary (1986), A Guide to Irish Roots, La Mesa, California: Irish Family Names Society, p. [page needed]
- Surname Search, The Irish Times This webpage cited: MacLysaght, Edward (1982), More Irish Families, Dublin
- Bain, Joseph, ed. (1881), Calendar of documents relating to Scotland preserved in Her Majesty's Public Record Office, London 4, Edinbugh: HM General Register House, p. 146
- Surname Search, The Irish Times
- Genealogy Data: Frequently Occurring Surnames from Census 2000, US Census Bureau, retrieved 30 July 2010