This is an English locational surname. It originates from the village of Cockerton in County Durham, and is now found although only rarely, in most counties of Eastern England. The place name is first recorded in the year 1050 as Cocertun, that is well before the famous Domesday Book of 1086, and is believed to mean the village (tun) on the River Cocker. Place names incorporating this river are popular in the North East and include Cockermouth, Cockersands, and Cockerham. "Cocker" is from an Olde British word of the pre Roman times "cucra" meaning crooked, a fair description for this particular river. Locational surnames are usually "from" names, and this is certainly a good example. It is rarely recorded in its own area, and the only example we could find was in 1743 when Elizabeth Cockerton married John Dove at Bishop Wearmouth, on May 1st of that year. Today the surname is generally found much further south, with the largest number of nameholders in the county of Essex, although even here it is scarcely twenty in number, and in most counties only one or two.
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