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Family Surname History – Walker

Categories:Names of Interest

Surname JumbleToday I am writing about the Walker family surname history.  I want to do some 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 loads of great websites on the internet about family surname history and origins so join me on the ride of family surname discovery.

Family Surname History – Walker

The first record of the surname Walker is in 1248 in Warwickshire where the Abbey of Bec mentions a Richard le Walkere.1

Distribution of Walker

Walker Family Surname History Distribution courtesy of Forebears

Walker Family Surname History Distributiona

According to Forebears, in 2014, Walker was the 581st most common surname in the world with 887,025 having this surname.1  It is most prevalent in the United States but can be found in many other countries including England, Australia, Canada, South Africa, Jamaica, Scotland, Nigeria, Ghana, and Liberia rounding out the top 10 incidences of this surname.1

The ancestors I have discovered in my tree with this surname are located in England where it is the 18th most common surname in the country, with 98,506 having this surname.1  In Australia, where I live, there are 45,877 people with this surname making in the 14th most common surname in the country.1

In England, it is most commonly found in the Midlands and northern regions of the country.2  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.

Meaning of the Surname Walker

Fuller's (Walker's) Occupation

Fuller’s (Walker’s)b

Walker originates from the Old English word ‘wealcere’, an alternative name for a fuller.1,2  The fuller or walker occupation required someone to tread/stamp on cloth in a trough containing a water mixture to thicken raw cloth, fairly similar to the modern-day grape pressing in France.1,2

The Walker name can also be a locational name with the name in the Northumberland region originating from the place Walker in Northumbria.1,2

Famous People

Over the centuries there have been many famous people with Walker as their surname.  Here are a few:

Sir Edward Walker (1612 – 1677) – purchased Shakespeare’s home at Stratford-on-Avon in 1675.2

Paul Walker, Famous Actor

Paul Walkerc

Robert Walker (1789 – 1854) – was the curate of Seathwaite, Cumberland and commemorated by Wordsworth.2

David Walker (c. 1796–c. 1830) – Writer, Civil Rights Activist who argued for the end of slavery in the United States.3

Mary Walker (1832–1919) – Surgeon, Doctor, Activist, Nurse, Women’s Rights Activist who received the Medal of Honor for her service during the American Civil War.4

Paul Walker (1973–2013) – American Actor remembered most for his roles in The Fast and the Furious franchise.5

Do you have the surname Walker 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. Forebears, ‘Walker Surname Meaning and Statistics’,, Accessed 2 March 2018.
2. Surname Database, ‘Last name: Walker’,, Accessed 2 March 2018.
3. Biography, ‘David Walker Biography’,, accessed 2 March 2018.
4. Biography, ‘Mary Walker Biography’,, Accessed 2 March 2018.
5. Biography, ‘Paul Walker Biography’,, Accessed 2 March 2018.
Image Credits
a. Forebears, ‘Walker Surname Meaning and Statistics’,, Accessed 2 March 2018.
b., ‘Fuller’s (Walker’s)’,×196.png, Accessed 2 March 2018.
c. Blogspot, ‘Paul Walker’,, Accessed 2 March 2018.


  1. Himz
    March 7, 2018 at 6:45 am

    Megan, you have written a really helpful and relevant article about the Walker surname.
    Reading this article makes me learn about the history of Walker surname. I’ve always been interested in knowing about it because of Paul Walker.
    I am looking forward to read other surnames histories as well here.
    Thank you 🙂

    • Megan
      March 7, 2018 at 8:02 am


      I am so glad you enjoyed this article!  I am looking forward to investigating some other surnames in my tree as I have some very unusual ones in there.  Now to decide which one to pick!



  2. Yvette Clayton
    March 24, 2018 at 2:23 pm

    This is a very good article. Your extensive research about your family shows in this post and it is very informative. Thank you for sharing your family with us.

    Are the Walkers you listed in the article descendants of yours?

    Kind Regards,

    • Megan
      March 24, 2018 at 3:54 pm

      Hi Yvette
      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. I don’t know if any of these Walker’s are related to me – maybe centuries and centuries ago there is a link. Wouldn’t have minded being related to Paul Walker.

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