Recorded as Chocke, Choke, Chockes, Choak, Choake, and possibly others, this is an English and possibly Cornish surname. According to the 'Handbook of Cornish Surnames', it derives from the ancient word 'chok', meaning 'jackdaw', and hence is a nickname. However it is also possible that the origin is not the jackdaw, but the cock-bird from the pre 7th century Olde English 'cok'. If this is the case then it was a nickname for 'a young lad', or more likely, 'a bit of a lad', with all its possible connotations and insinuations! There are no easy explanations for many medieval surnames, given the Chaucerian humour of the period. What is certain is that the name in all its spellings was recorded in the city of London before it was recorded in Cornwall. Examples of early recordings include Alexander Chocke at St Peter's Westcheap, London, on June 21st 1574, Johis Chocke of Landulph, Cornwall, October 26th 1582, and John Choke of Totnes, on September 22nd 1589. Margret Choak married John Miler (!) at Maker, near Saltash, Cornwall on October 10th 1641, and Charles Choak was recorded at Mawgan in Menage, on November 24th 1776. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Francis Chokke. This was dated February 1st 1565, when she married Robert Hole in London by Civil Licence, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1st, 1558 - 1603. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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