Select Park/Parks/Parkes Surname Genealogy

In medieval times the park, from the French parc, was a fenced-in hunting area, kept specially for the use of royalty and nobility.  The keeper of the park held a position of status and trust as he had the powers of arrest and punishment.

This occupation has supplied the surnames Park, Parks and Parkes:
  • Parkes has been the main version in England, although Parks and Park are also found
  • Parks has tended to be the American spelling
  • while Park is found in both Scotland and America. 
Park is also the third most frequent Korean surname, traditionally dating back to King Hyeokgeose Park.

Select Park/Parks/Parkes Resources on The Internet
Select Park/Parks/Parkes Ancestry

EnglandEngland has Parkes, Parks, and Park - Parkes in the West Midlands, Parks in SE England, and Park in northern England.

.  The Parkes name in three West Midlands counties – Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire – accounted for over 60% of all the Parkes in England in the 1881 census.  The first record of the name here was Henry del Parck in the assize court rolls of Staffordshire in 1272. 

Parkes was a landowning family in the 1600’s in Wednesbury, south Staffordshire.  Thomas Parkes was a staunch Parliamentarian at Willingsworth Hall who paid for and raised his own troop of cavalry during the Civil War.  Later the Parkes profited from the coal mines in the area.  Richard Parkes acquired Oakeswell Hall in 1689.  When he died he left four daughters, but no sons.

Parkes were evident in Halesowen, Worcestershire from the early 1500’s. 
Harry Parkes was born there in 1792, the son of a curate at the parish church.  He prospered as an iron-master and moved into Birchills Hall.  However, in 1833 he was killed instantly when the carriage in which he was riding overturned.  His memorial reads as follows:

“Sacred to the memory of Harry Parkes of Birchills Hall who was accidentally killed on August 3, 1833 aged 42, leaving three children to deplore their early loss.”

His son Harry left for Asia in 1841 where he did well – acting Consul in Canton, Consul General in Japan, and British minister for Korea.

The Parkes name was common in Dudley, Warwickshire by the early 1700’s.  Richard Parkes, born around 1742, was a baker in the town.  From him was descended Josiah Parkes who founded the Parkes family lock business at Willenhall in the mid-19th century.

Henry Parkes
was born in Stoneleigh, Warwickshire in 1815 and had a tough upbringing before he emigrated to Australia in 1839 and made his mark there.

  The Parks name was mainly to be found in East Sussex and Kent.  The Parks family of Haywards Heath were well-known.  Brothers James and Harry played cricket for Sussex in the 1930’s.  James’s son Jim Parks was an England batsman and wicket-keeper in the 1960’s.

.  The Park name has appeared in Cumberland and Durham near the border with Scotland and also in Lancashire.  Two from Lancashire emigrated to America in the 1600’s - Robert Parke from Preston in 1630 and Roger Parke from Cartmel in 1678.

William Park was a yeoman farmer at Thurnham near Lancaster in the mid-1700’s.  His descendants were also farmers in the Lancaster area, although son James and grandson Joseph were recorded as well as publicans – James of the Dalton Arms at Glasson Dock and Joseph of the Green Dragon in Galgate. 

John of Perk was presbyter of the Glasgow diocese in 1433 and a Park family held the lands of Park in Erskine parish in Renfrewshire in the late 1400’s.  The name also appeared at an early time in the northeast in Aberdeen where Thomas de Perk held land in 1445.

Mungo Park the African explorer was born in Selkirkshire on the Scottish borders in 1771.  His family had been tenant farmers there for close on a hundred years. 
And there were two later Mungo Parks, father and nephew, who came from a famous Park family of Scottish golfers at Musselburgh in East Lothian.

  The arrival names may have been Parkes or Parke.  But the spelling later tended to become standardized as Parks.

New England
.  Robert Parke was an early arrival in New England on the Arabella with Winthrop’s fleet in 1630.  He settled in Mystic, Connecticut in 1649.  His son Thomas later made his home in New London.  Frank Parks’ 1906 book Genealogy of the Parke Families of Connecticut covered the descendants of this family.  

There were two Parks lines that migrated from Connecticut to upstate New York in the mid/late 1700’s: 
  • Elijah Parks established his family at South Glens Falls in the mid-1700’s.   Elijah was killed there during an Indian raid in 1777, however.   
  • while William Parks moved in 1789 to Sullivan county and what became known as Parksville.  Many family stories were recounted by William’s great grand-daughter Cora who died in 1972 at the grand age of 103.  
Virginia.  There were early Parke and Parkes in Virginia.  Colonel Daniel Parke from Essex made his home in New Kent county.  He died in 1679 and there is a large tablet to his memory on the wall of Bruton church in Williamsburg where he was a vestryman.  Meanwhile Charles Parkes was a gunsmith recorded in Northampton county in 1675.

John Parks arrived in Virginia in 1658.  His son Thomas settled in Albemarle county in an area known as
Ballengers Mountain, his grandson John in Wilkes county, North Carolina.  Through another grandson Thomas via North Carolina came the Parkes of Moore county, Tennessee. 

Elsewhere.  William Parks arrived in Maryland from Shropshire in 1726 and started a print shop in Annapolis.  He became Maryland’s official printer and then Virginia’s and left a substantial estate on his death in 1750.  But this was mostly devoured by debt and litigation fees.

Roger Parke from Lancashire came to Hopewell near Trenton in New Jersey in 1678.  There he was a Keithian Quaker and a respected physician specializing in herbal medicine learnt from the Indians.  Some of Roger’s descendants settled in Hampshire county, Virginia and one line later in Preble county, Ohio. 

According to the family story, eleven Scots Irish brothers named Park came to America in the mid/late-1700’s, one of whom, Captain Parks, fought in the Revolutionary War and made his home in North Carolina.  Son Joseph Parks migrated to Sumner county, Tennessee.  He and his family were devoted members of the Cumberland Presbyterian church, one son Hamilton later becoming a Presbyterian minister.

.  Cyrenius Parke, a descendant of immigrant Robert Parke, was a Loyalist who departed for Canada in 1784 and was granted land at Napanee in Ontario.  He married twice and sired eighteen children who reached adulthood.  The Parke Bible which listed these offspring has been preserved.

William Parks, Scots Irish, had come from Ireland to New Brunswick in 1822 and soon became a leading Saint John merchant.  His home there, built around 1850 on Parks Street, still stands. 

  John Parkes from Halesowen in Worcestershire had been shipped out to Sydney on the Barwell as a convict in 1798.  After a spell working in the Government dockyards, he secured some land to gather lumber along the Cooks river.  This area became known as Parkestown.  His son Bill became a champion bare-knuckle boxer.

“In 1846 Bill Parkes went to England to challenge Nat Latham.  The fight lasted 62 rounds and only ended when in a clutch they both fell and Bill suffered a broken arm.”

Sir Henry Parkes who arrived from Warwickshire in 1839 was a larger-than-life character.  He was according to The Times of London “the most commanding figure in Australian politics.”  With five terms to his credit, he remains the longest-serving premier of New South Wales.  And he led the cause for federation and nationhood.

He was married three times and fathered twelve surviving children.   Following his first wife’s death in 1888 he married his long-time mistress Nellie Dixon. The couple already had three children and two more were to follow.  After Nellie's untimely death from cancer in 1895, he then married the family's housekeeper Julia Lynch and gave her legal responsibility for his five young children

Select Park/Parks/Parkes Miscellany

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

Select Park/Parks/Parkes Names

Mungo Park was a famous Scottish explorer of the late 18th century who led two expeditions to find the source of the Niger river in Africa.
Sir Henry Parkes
was an Australian politician of the late 19th century who has been called the father of Federation.
Gordon Parks
was an American photographer and film director.  He was a pioneer among black filmmakers, being the first African American to produce and direct major motion pictures.
Rosa Parks
was an activist in the civil rights movement, best known for her pivotal role in the Montgomery bus boycott.

James Park
 is a Korean American tech entrepreneur.  He co-founded and is CEO of Fitbit.

Select Park/Parks/Parkes Today
  • 35,000 in the UK (most numerous in West Midlands)
  • 61,000 in America (most numerous in Texas) 
  • 23,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)

PS.  You might want to check out the surnames page on this website.  It covers surname genealogy in this and companion websites for more than 800 surnames.

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