The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland

The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland

29th January 2020 0 By admin

Finishing the month with my fourth blog and starting with my next series I will discuss the origins of Wheelock name and its evolution. In 2016 Oxford University Press published this huge dictionary and according to them is the ultimate reference work on family names of the UK, covering English, Scottish, Welsh, Irish, Cornish, and immigrant surnames.

It includes every surname that currently has more than 100 bearers, and those that had more than 20 bearers in the 1881 census.

It also explains the historical background, formation, and typology of surnames and a guide to surnames research and family history research. Additional material also includes a list of published and unpublished lists of surnames from the Middle Ages to the present day.

Having given the Dictionary a plugging what have I found for the Wheelock’s reinforces some my own research even though I have some alternative definitions but that’s for next blog and my reasons.

The accepted definition of the origins of the Wheelock name is:

The Name of the village is first recorded as Hoileck, and Hoiloch in the Domesday book then Changed in 1316 to Quelock and again in 1382 to Whelock, in 1384 to Welock, finally in 1390 it seems to have settled, and recorded as Wheelock as it is known today. The main reason for changes stem from people spelling as they sound it.

The word come from the word Chevel-og meaning winding, twisting, turning and the conclusions seem to be the river with its many twists and turns until they reach the central body of the river outside the village. Sketch of the locks: (History of Sandbach and District”, Cyril Massey, Published 1982).

Here are pages from the dictionary with details from the Wheelock name and variations:

A more obscure definition of the name is as follows: The development of Wellock via Wailock, Wallock from walok in 1379. This is the form which requires investigation and the evidence suggests that it was a diminutive of a personal or Christian name “Wal”. This may have been meaningless when used in the 1300s, but etymologically it is probably the Old High German word “walh” meaning “stranger” or “foreigner”.

Next Week: Alternative Definitions of Wheelock and it’s origins.