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Surname Wake - Meaning and Origin

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Wake: What does the surname Wake mean?

The surname Wake is of English origin and can be traced back to pre 7th century England. The meaning of "Wake" is derived from the Old English word "wacu" or "waca" which translates to "watch" or "wake". It was primarily used as an occupational surname for a watchman or a guard. It was also used to denote someone who participated in the annual festival or wake held on the patron saint's day of a parish in medieval times. Additionally, it could be topographical, indicating someone who lived near a notable landmark known as "the wake" which was a watch-tower or a wake, a portion of a lake or river. It has several variations including Wake, Wakes, Weekes, Weeks, Wike, and Wykes. The famous bearer of this surname was Hereward the Wake, the 11th-century leader of local resistance to the Norman Conquest of England.

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Wake: Where does the name Wake come from?

The surname Wake is a locational surname which suggests that the people bearing it originated from a place called Wake. This place may have been the now-derelict village of Wake in Northamptonshire, England, but may also be a former settlement with a similar name. Today, the Wake surname is most commonly found throughout the United Kingdom, particularly in England and Scotland. It is also quite common in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States.

In the United States, the Wake surname is most prevalent in Texas, California, and New York. It is also present, albeit to a lesser degree, in other states, including Pennsylvania, Illinois, Michigan, and Indiana. The surname Wake can also be found throughout Germany, France, and the Netherlands.

Genealogical research suggests that the Wake family originated in the Northamptonshire area of England. The earliest public record of the Wake surname dates back to 1243, when a Thomas Wake was noted in the Hundred Rolls of Huntingdonshire. By 1296, the name had spread to Yorkshire, while in 1381, William Wake appeared in the Poll Tax returns from Staffordshire.

Through the years, the Wake surname has become established throughout much of the world. Variations of the Wake name include Wakes, Wakefield, Waker, and Waken.

Variations of the surname Wake

The surname Wake has many different variants, spellings, and surnames that all originate from the same source. Common variants of the surname include Wakeman, Wayman, and Weyman. The spelling of Wake can also vary widely, with spellings such as Waik, Waike, Wakes, and Waikman all being rooted in the same surname.

In Old English, the surname Wake is derived from the word 'wace', meaning a watchman, guard, or warden. The surname was used to denote a person who kept watch at night or a soldier who defended a fortress.

Not all variants of the surname come from Old English. In Scotland and Northern Ireland, the surnames Wakeham and Wakeling may be derived from the Scandinavian 'vak' or 'vaki', meaning 'bay' or 'bay tree'. In Ireland, the surname Wack originated as an Anglicization of 'MacSheáin', the Gaelic form of another Irish surname, MacShane.

As the surname Wake has several different variants, spellings, and origins, its meaning and history can vary. However, all of the variations can be traced back to the original surname, making it easy to trace the history of each different line of descent from the same origin.

Famous people with the name Wake

  • Anna Wake: British actress.
  • Walter Wake: a prominent doctor in the Burnley area of England in the late 19th century.
  • Patrick Wake: Former British Bishop of Worcester.
  • Brett Wake: Australian former professional rugby league footballer.
  • Lydia Wake: American actress.
  • Edward Wake: Australian sculptor and academic.
  • Jim Wake: a former professional American Basketball Player.
  • Marc Wake: Former English footballer.
  • Paul Wake: former English cricketer.
  • Brad Wake: American composer and lyricist.
  • Bill Wake: an American football running back.
  • John Wake: an American congressman from Connecticut.
  • Clifford Wake: a former First Nations chief.
  • Brian Wake: former Major League Baseball pitcher.
  • Leander Wake: an English soldier, sailor, and a recipient of the Victoria Cross.
  • Ian Wake: a New Zealand poet and playwright.
  • Mary Wake: British poet and novelist.
  • Tom Wake: English composer.
  • Pat Wake: South African cricketer.
  • Steve Wake: American comedian.
  • Fanny Wake: Australian painter.
  • Evan Wake: Australian film writer and director.
  • Robert Wake: Canadian politician.
  • John Wake-Walker: an English admiral.
  • Charles Wake: British zoologist.

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