This interesting surname is of Old Norse origin, and has two possible related sources, one habitational, and the other occupational. If the former, the name may be either topographical in origin, from residence by a bend in a river or road, derived from the Middle English "crok", ultimately from the Old Norse "krokr", crook, bend; or locational, from any of the various places in the north of England named with this word. These places include Crook in Durham, Lancashire and Westmorland, and Crookes in the West Riding of Yorkshire. Topographical surnames were among the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognizable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages. Locational names were originally given to local landowners, and the Lord of the Manor, and especially as a means of identification to those former inhabitants who left their place of origin to settle elsewhere. Crooks may also be a metonymic occupational name for a maker, seller, or user of hooks, derived from the Old Norse "krokr" (as above), borrowed into Middle English as a vocabulary word. One Rainald Croc was noted in the Domesday Book of 1086 for Hampshire, and a Thomas de Crokes appears in the 1379 Poll Tax Returns of Yorkshire. On February 26th 1699 Isabel, daughter of Richard Crooks, was christened in Dronfield near Chesterfield, Derbyshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert de Crokis, which was dated 1297, in the "Subsidy Rolls of Yorkshire", 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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