This unusual and interesting name is of Medieval English origin and is a dialectal variant of the locational name Marske, from two places so called, in North Yorkshire. The earliest recording of the place near Saltburn is in the Domesday Book of 1086 and appears as Mersc, and in Symeon's Ecclesiastical Records of circa 1104, as Merscum. The other place, near Richmond, is recorded in the Domesday Book as 'Mersche', and in the Feet of Fines of 1234 as 'Mersk'. The derivation of both these places is from the Old English 'mersc', marsh. During the Middle Ages, it became customary for people to adopt their village name as a means of identification, when they migrated from their birthplace to seek work elsewhere. This is suggested, in this instance, by the numerous recordings of this name in Lancashire, the neighbouring county, i.e., John Musker married Helena Richardsdoughter on November 2nd 1592 at Childwell. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Elizabeth Musker (marriage to John Cubbon), which was dated November 2nd 1558, Ormskirk, Lancashire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, '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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