This unusual and interesting name is of medieval locational origin, from the English midland region and from a place formerly known as "Great Rakes". The meaning of the name is very rare, it is, in fact, a head mining term and translates as "The Great Vein of Ore". There being a number of former mines in the Derbyshire Peak District which at one time or another carried this name, although all are now long gone. A particular example was the Greatrake Mine of Carsington in Derbyshire, and this is believed to be the source of many surnames in the spelling of Greatrex, Greatrix, Gartrix or Greatorex. The name recordings include Sarah Gratrix of Glossop who married John Crowther on March 29th 1830. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Greatrix, which was dated 5th July 1571, St. Dunstans in the East, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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