This unusual and interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is from a topographical name for someone who lived near an oak tree or in an oak wood, derived from the Middle English (1200 - 1500) "oke", oak, from the Olde English pre 7th Century "ac"; the word is also used in the singular in a collective sense. It is possible that it was sometimes used as a nickname for someone "as strong as an oak". The surname Atack is derived from the misdivision of the term "atten oak", or "at an oak". Topographical surnames were among the earliest created since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognisable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages. The modern surname can be found as Atack, Attack, Attock, Attoc and Attac, and the forms Noak, Noake and Noke are also formed from the misdivision of "atten oak". The name is well recorded in Yorkshire Church Registers: the marriage of Rowland Atack and Frances Brooke was recorded in Horbury, on November 16th 1652, and Thomas, son of Francis Atack, was christened in Featherstone, on February 2nd 1674. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Geoffrey atte Ock, which was dated 1296, in the "Subsidy Rolls of Sussex", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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