This is an English topographical surname of some antiquity and denotes someone who lived near a conspicuous Oak tree or in or by an Oak wood. The derivation is from the Old English pre 7th Century "ac", Middle English "Oke", meaning "Oak (tree)". Some modern-day bearers of the surname may well derive from any of the minor places named with the word "Oak" or "Oake", such as "Oake" in Somerset, or "Oaken" in Staffordshire. It is possible also that the surname has arisen from a nickname for someone who was very strong as in "strong as an Oak". There are many variations of the name today, from "O(a)ke" and "Oak(e)s" to "Oakker". Sir Henry Oakes, second baronet (1756 - 1827), was a distinguished lieutenant - general in the East India Company, Service. A Coat of Arms granted to the family is silver, on a chevron engrailed in black, three sprigs of oak fructed proper. A cross of eight points silver, on a canton red, a mullet of as many points within an increscent of silver. The crest being, out of a red mural crown, a buck's head erased proper, gorged with a collar embattled gold, the motto: Persevere. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Adam at the Ock, which was dated 1273, in the "Shropshire Hundred Rolls", 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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