This unusual name is of Old Norse origin and is either a locational or a topographical surname. If the former, it derives from the place called "Thackray" in the Parish of Great Timble, in West Yorkshire which has now been submerged in the Fewston reservoir. The placenames' meaning and derivation are from the Olde Norse elements "thak", meaning thatching, reeds and "(v)ra", meaning a nook or corner. The topographical surname denotes one who lived at such a "nook or corner" - "where reeds for thatching grew". The name development has included John Thackerowe (1548, Yorkshire), James Thackerey (1602, ibid.) and Thomas Thackwray (1613, ibid.). On February 10th 1642, John, son of John and Ann Thackray was christened at St. Andrews, Holborn, London. The marriage of Robert Thackeray and Margaret Eaton took place on July 22nd 1688 at St. Mary's, St Marylebone Road, London. Probably the most famous bearer of the name was the novelist William Makepeace Thackeray (1811 - 1863), author of "Vanity Fair" (1848). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John de Tha Kwra, which was dated 1379, the Yorkshire Poll Tax Returns, during the reign of King Richard 11, Richard of Bordeaux, 1377 - 1399. 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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