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Surname Handcock - Meaning and Origin

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Handcock: What does the surname Handcock mean?

The surname Handcock, primarily found in England, originates from an occupational name, originating from a position of responsibility or authority. Popular in the Middle Ages, occupational surnames were often derived from the primary activity or job of the initial bearer. The name Handcock is believed to derive from "hand," referring to someone who worked with their hands, and "cock," an archaic term for a young boy or a leader. "Cock" is derived from the Middle English term "cok," used to denote a young man or a term of address for a man of lower status. So, a possible interpretation of the surname Handcock is 'a young, skilled manual worker' or 'a leader among manual workers'. It's also a variant of the surname Hancock. Like many surnames, variations in spelling exist due to factors such as regional dialect and illiteracy in earlier times. The meaning of a surname can provide intriguing insights into the history and lineage of a family.

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Handcock: Where does the name Handcock come from?

The surname Handcock is of English origin, and is believed to have derived from the personal name "Johannes" or "John". It means "son of John". It can also have derived from Han, a short form of "Johannes", with the addition of "cock", which is a medieval diminutive. This surname dates back to the early 14th century, seen in the "Assize court rolls of Staffordshire".

Another opinion suggests it could be an occupational surname given to a skilled tradesman or an official with responsibility for checking weights and measures. In Middle English, hand + coc would be the one who checked weights and measures with his own 'gauge' or standard measure. It also refers to the male bird for notable courage and spirit; "John's cockerel".

The surname Handcock is relatively uncommon. However, it has been found in larger numbers in English-speaking countries like the United Kingdom, United States, Australia, and New Zealand. It continues to appear in these regions today in varying numbers. Census data suggests its highest frequency is in England, particularly in the South West regions.

Variations of the surname Handcock

The surname Handcock has various spellings and related surnames due to regional differences and variations in phonetic translation over the timeline.

Exemplar variants and spellings include: Hancock, Hanecock, Hanacok, Hanacock, Handcook, Handcocke, and Handkocke. Note that these alternatives may have diverged and developed into distinct family lines on their own.

The root of the Handcock surname is believed to be English, derived from the medieval English personal name Hanne, which itself came from the Hebrew name Johanan (which means "Jehovah has favored me with a son"). The second part of the surname, "cock," was seen as a diminutive or nickname. The surname Handcock, therefore, was originally used to refer to a son or younger relative of someone named Hanne.

The patronymic surname Hancox is a closely related name. It originated as a nickname for a cock (rooster) fancier, or perhaps for a strutting, 'cocky' individual. Other related English surnames include Hanke and Hankin, both derived from Hanne or Johan.

Remember, the spelling of surnames often changed over the centuries. It was not uncommon for the same individual to be listed under different spellings in different documents.

Famous people with the name Handcock

  • Graham Hancock: A British author and journalist, best known for his theories on ancient civilizations and the designing of historical monuments like the Egyptian Pyramids.
  • Sheila Hancock: An English actress and noted author. She has had a career spanning over six decades in the entertainment field.
  • Tony Hancock: An English comedian and actor. He was a major figure in British television and radio comedy during the 1950s and 1960s.
  • Herbie Hancock: Though not spelled exactly the same, the surname has the same pronunciation as "Handcock". Herbie Hancock is an acclaimed American jazz pianist and composer, often associated with genres like post-bop and jazz fusion.
  • Rixon Wingrove: Born Rixon Hancock Wingrove, this Australian baseball player's middle name is Hancock. Please note that it is unusual to find many famous individuals with the exact surname 'Handcock'. This list thus contains famous personalities with 'Hancock' as their surname, a more common variant.

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