Names of Interest

Family Surname History – Stokes

Surname JumbleToday I am writing about family surname history for Stokes.  I am doing more in-depth research of all the surnames in my tree so have decided to share this as I work my way back through my tree.  There are many great websites on the internet about family surname history and origins so join me on my family surname history discovery.


Family Surname History – Stokes

Stokes is an old name in England with its usage noted as far back as the 11th Century – Ailwin de Stokes, 1195, in the Pipe Rolls in Northamptonshire.1


Distribution of Stokes

Stokes Surname Distribution courtesy of Forebears
Stokes Surname Distribution Worldwide courtesy of Forebearsa

According to Forebears, in 2014, Stokes was the 5,034th most common surname in the world with 108,490 having this surname.2  It is most prevalent in the United States but can be found in many other countries including England, Australia, South Africa, Canada, Wales, New Zealand, Ireland, Scotland, and Guatemala rounding out the top 10 incidences of this surname.2



Stokes Surname England Distribution courtesy of Forebears
Stokes Surname UK Distribution – Image courtesy of Forebearsa

The ancestors I have discovered in my tree with this surname are located in England where it is the 326th most common surname in the country, with 18,762 having this surname.2  In Australia, where I live, there are 7,693 people with this surname making in the 371st most common surname in the country.2


In England, Stokes is most commonly found in Middlesex, Staffordshire, and Warwickshire areas.1  In my genealogy research, I have found this family surname history to be congregated around the Stafford, Shortheath, Willenhall, and Wolverhampton areas of Staffordshire in the Midlands.  The largest concentration of Stokes in my tree is from Staffordshire – Bloxwich, New Invention, Walsall; Birmingham and Warwickshire.


Meaning of the Surname Stokes

Stokes is a geographical based surname “of Stoke” denoting the location from where someone originated with many of the first known names being “de Stokes”.2


Stokes of Note

Yacht Club by Constance "Connie" Stokes courtesy of National Gallery of Victoria
Yacht Club by Constance “Connie” Stokesb

Here are a few famous Stokes in history:

Sir George Stokes, 1st Baronet (1819-1903) – Irish Physicist and Mathematician.3

Sir Howard Frederick Stokes (1899-1977) – engineer, company director and hospital president from Victoria in Australia.4

Carl Stokes (1927-1996) –  Lawyer, News Anchor, and Cleveland, Ohio’s first African American Mayor from 1967-1971.5

Constance “Connie” Stokes (1906-1991) – modernist Australian painter from Victoria.6

Ben Stokes (b.1991) – English international cricketer.7


Do you have the surname Stokes in your family history?  Do you know where your family name originated from?  Put your surname in the search box below to find your surname at House of Names.


1. Surname Database, ‘Last Name: Stokes’,, Accessed 16 March 2018.
2. Forebears, ‘Stokes Surname Meaning & Statistics’,, Accessed 16 March 2018.
3. Wikipedia, ‘Sir George Stokes, 1st Baronet’,,_1st_Baronet, Accessed 16 March 2018.
4. Australian Dictionary of Biography, ‘Stokes, Sir Harold Frederick’,, Accessed 16 March 2018.
5., ‘Carl Stokes – Lawyer, Mayor, News Anchor’,, Accessed 16 March 2018.
6. Australian Dictionary of Biography, ‘Stokes, Constance (Connie)’,, Accessed 16 March 2018.
7. Wikipedia, ‘Ben Stokes’,, accessed 16 March 2018.
a. Forebears, ‘Stokes Surname Meaning & Statistics’,, Accessed 16 March 2018.
b. National Gallery of Victoria, ‘Yacht Club by Constance ‘Connie’ Stokes’,, Accessed 16 March 2018.

6 thoughts on “Family Surname History – Stokes

  1. isn’t it crazy that I’ve never done that kind of research on my last name? Following that link above, I saw that my family first appeared in written history in Tuscany, in 218 BC. Crazy stuff! Also learned about some notable relatives in the US that I hadn’t heard about. Thanks for the great lead, always stuff to learn on your site!

  2. Nice article on your family surname Stokes. I’ve never really thought about looking in to mine. I did try the House of Names search for my last name and it didn’t have any results. I am glad you are searching your family history I wish more people would do that these days. That way maybe they could see that things wasn’t all that easy.

    1. Hi Fred

      That is unfortunate that you weren’t able to find your surname. I would say you must have an unusual one – I know my children’s one is and it is hard to find information on it. Where does your surname come from originally?


  3. I have traced my Stokes ancestry back to Baron Geoffrey de Rie 943-980. His son was Baron Eudes Fitzgeoffrey de Rie that died in 1027 in Bayeux Normandie. His son was Sir Hubert de Rie, Steward of Normandie. His son, Baron Randdulph Fitzhubert de Praers e Stoke, Lord of Griech e Praers was the first ancestor to use the word Stoke in his name. He was born in Presles, Normandie and died in Stoke, England. His grandson was Sir Richard de Stokes, Knight, Baron of Colchester and Warkworth and died at Warkworth Castle in 1168. His descendants were the Lords of Stokes Hall. Adam de Stoke was the brother of my ancestor. All the people with the name Stokes are not related. They just had ancestors from several places called Stoke in England. My ancestor immigrated to the colonies in the early 1700’s. He was Sir William Stokes the Fifth. He and his sons had plantations in North Carolina, but moved later to South Carolina, where the Stokes plantation was located in Barnwell County. My great grandfather’s plantation was in Peeples, SC, where my father grew up.

    In doing my research, I found it interesting how the Normands used a first name, then Fritz combined with their father’s name, followed by de and the place with which they were associated. My ancestors made doing research difficult by using the same names over and over. There were first cousins with the same name. Only their birth dates and wife’s name could be used to tell them apart. In my family, they were big on using only their initials, so J.A. could be John Alfred or James Allen. They had no idea we would be doing research.

    1. Hello Kenneth

      Wow! That is awesome you have been able to trace your Stokes line back so far. I am nowhere near that and my Stokes line stayed in the Staffordshire, UK region. My grandma was a Stokes and was born in New Invention and after she married she moved to Stafford. Her father died in Bloxwich where the family lived. Many of the records I need are in the Walsall Archives so the dream is to travel to the UK and take a year to do research in various archives around the UK.


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