Recorded in several forms including Strank, Strancke, Stranke, and Stranks, this surname is believed to be English. It is well recorded in the early surviving medieval and Elizabethan church registers of the city of London, and particularly so in the Stuart period from the first years of the 17th century. However although well recorded, its origins remain unproven. In that respect there appears to be a number of possible explanations which include a residential origin and if so deriving from the pre 7th century Norse word 'strand' meaning a seashore, and hence somebody who lived at the seaside, or it may be a transposition of the French word 'estrange' meaning a stranger, or thirdly it could be a transposed spelling of the word 'shank' and hence a medieval nickname for a person with long legs or possibly deformed legs. The robust 'humour' of the period made no allowance for sensibilities in regard to physical or mental deformaties. Finally it is just possible that the derivation may be from the Mid-European word 'stran' or 'stranka' meaning a hillside. Examples of early recordings include those of Robert Strancke who married Mary Kinnersley at St Mary Somerset in the city of London on May 24th 1640, Samuel Strank, who was christened at St Dunstans iin the East, Stepney, on March 13th 1691, and George Stranks who married Eliza Ellis at All Souls church, Marylebone, on October 28th 1850.
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