Tucker (surname)

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Family name
Meaning derived from various Germanic verbs meaning "to torment"
Region of origin England, Germany, Ireland
Related names Walker, Fuller, Tukker, Toher
Footnotes: Frequency & comparison:[1]

Tucker is a surname of disputed origin.

Possible derivation of the name[edit]

The origin of the name is not entirely certain, but since it has a long history as a surname on the continent, as in England and from thereon, also in the United States, it presumably has the same Saxon roots. The Saxons were a West Germanic people living in the northwestern part of the current Germany and the northeastern part of what is now the Netherlands. The Romans never ruled them and after they left, the power of the Saxons in the region grew. In the 5th Century AD, their expansion policy took them across the North Sea to Britain. There they established power in most parts of the island.

In England[edit]

Recorded as both Tucker and Tooker, the derivation of the English occupational surname comes from the Old English, pre-7th Century verb tucian, meaning "to torment." It would have been for a fuller, also known as a "walker," one who softened freshly woven cloth by beating and tramping on it in water. "Tucker" was the usual term in the southwest of England (and South Wales as well), "walker" in the west and north, and "fuller" in the southeast and East Anglia.

The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of one Baldwin Tuckere in the 1236 Records of Battle Abbey in Sussex.[2] Nevertheless, one should not be too hasty to assign English origin to bearers of the surname.

German and Dutch origins[edit]

Linguistically, the word tucker is assumed to be related to the German tucher, which means "towel-maker." In the 15th Century, the bulk of the German cotton trade was in the hands of the Tucher family in Nürnberg, where Tucher Castle still stands.

In Old Dutch, which is closely related to Old German, the word tuch was often used as a verb to mean "to tug sharply" (see above). The similar linguistic origin of these words is also recognizable in the English etymology.[3]

In the Netherlands the earliest known Tucker was Jan Tucker, who in 1368 sold a house on the Hagedijk Road to Antwerp in the city of Breda.[4] Breda held a local monopoly on the wool trade in those days.[5] Over the centuries the Dutch form of the surname has been spelled both Tucker as well as Tukker.

Possible Irish origin[edit]

Tucker can also be an Anglicized form of the Irish surname O'Tuachair,[6] which first appeared in the Annals of Ulster in 1126 AD as Uá Tuathchair[7] It is not uncommon to see Anglicized representations of Irish surnames, and myriad examples may be cited. According to Patrick Woulfe, in his book Irish Names and Surnames[8] it is the name of two distinct septs; one from the Irish Midlands region known as Ely-O'Carroll (which includes parts of County Tipperary and County Offaly), and another from County Mayo. These findings were confirmed by the first Chief Herald of Ireland, Edward MacLysaght, and published in his book More Irish Families.[9]

Variants of the Irish surname include Toher, Togher, and Tougher.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Tucker Surname at Forebears
  2. ^ "Last name: Tucker". The Internet Surname Database. Retrieved April 2, 2015. 
  3. ^ see for example The Brewsters Dictionary
  4. ^ Archive Begijnhof, Breda. IAB482 Act of deliverance by Jan Tucker and Jan Gryelen to the Begijnhof by payment of thirteen-and-a-half 'greats', coming out of a house and yard at the Haagdijk, May 20th 1368. 1 charter Regest nummers: 049 Cijnsregister: BCR114
  5. ^ see f.e. Het boek van Breda, page 46, published by the City of Breda, ISBN 978-90-400-8483-6 NUR 693
  6. ^ Dictionary of American Family Names, p. 1193, Oxford University Press (2003), ISBN 0-19-508137-4
  7. ^ Annala Uladh, Annals Of Ulster V2, A.D. 1057-1131, A.D. 1155-1378: Otherwise, Annala Senait, Annals Of Senat; A Chronicle Of Irish Affairs From AD 431 To 1540, Cathal Mac Maghnusa Maguire, Rory O'Cassidy, William Maunsell Hennessy, Batholomew MacCarthy, p. 171, Royal Irish Academy (1893), Kessinger Publishing, LLC (July 25, 2007), ISBN 0-548-19804-7
  8. ^ Irish Names and Surnames by Patrick Woulfe, Dublin Press, Library of Congress catalog card number 67-27570.
  9. ^ Edward MacLysaght, More Irish Families, p. 204, Irish Academic Press (1982) ISBN 0-7165-2364-7