Select Buck Surname Genealogy

The Buck surname is both English and German in origin. 

The English Buck may derive from the Old English bucca, a male goat, or from bucc, a male deer.  The name here would have begun as a nickname - for someone with a possible resemblance to the animal in terms of strength, speed or sturdiness.  The Buck name could also be topographical, deriving from the Old English boc, a beech tree, and referring to someone living by a prominent beech tree. 

The German Bock, which often came to America as Buck, had a similar derivation, from the Old German boc meaning a male goat.  It would also have begun life as a nickname.  In early Dutch and Belgian annals the name could also be Bouc or Bouck, in early French le Buc or de Buc.  

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Select Buck Ancestry

England.   Walter le Buc was said to have come to England from Flanders in the early 13th century as a mercenary to help King John in his battles with the barons.  He settled in Yorkshire at what became known as Bucktown. 

John Bucke of this family from Harthill supported Richard III at the battle of Bosworth Field in 1485 and subsequently lost his head.   Sir George Buck became well-known as an author and antiquarian, his works including a life of Richard III.  However, his end too was unfortunate.  He fell from favor, was overwhelmed by debt, and died insane.  But Bucks of this family by this time were established at Hamby Grange near Leverton in Lincolnshire where they were to remain until the late 18th century.

Other early Bucks were:
  • John Buck who was rector at Benston in Norfolk in 1457 (his descendants were to be found in Norwich)
  • James Buck who was vicar at Stradbrook in Suffolk in 1649 
  • and Matthew Buck, lord of the manor of Winterbourne in Gloucestershire around that time.
The Buck brothers, Samuel and Nathaniel, were engravers and printmakers from Yorkshire who roamed the country in the 1730's and 1740's selling what were known as Buck's antiquities.  One family history starts in the 1770's with Samuel Buck of Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire.

The Buck name in the 19th century was primarily to be found in East Anglia, extending northward into Yorkshire and southward to London.

America.   English Bucks came first, then German.

English.  The first Buck in America was the Rev. Richard Buck from Wymondham in Norfolk who served as the minister of Jamestown from 1610 until his death in 1624.  Buck was a close friend of English planter John Rolfe and he officiated at the wedding of Rolfe and Pocahontas, the daughter of the Powhatan chief, in 1614.  Buck was later acknowledged as one of the "ancient planters" and given a land grant.

Another Buck family in Virginia began with Thomas Buck who came to York county around 1635.   The Bucks were a prominent and well-to-do plantation family in early Virginia.  They were active in the local economy, politics and religion of the Shenandoah valley during the 1700's and 1800's.

Early Buck settlers in New England were:
  • William Buck, a plowwright from Buckinghamshire who travelled with his son Roger on the Increase in 1635 and settled in Cambridge, Massachusetts.   
  • Isaac Buck who was transported to Boston on the Amitia in the same year for refusing to take the oath of conformity.  He gained renown as an Indian fighter when he saved Stockbridge mill from the Indians in 1676.  Daniel Buck moved north to Vermont in 1785 and both he and his son Daniel represented Vermont in the US Congress.
  • and Emanuel Buck who came from Norfolk in the 1640's and settled in Wethersfield, Connecticut.  One branch led through Samuel Buck of Portland, Connecticut; another through Captain James Buck of Litchfield, Connecticut.
However, Bucks in America are more likely to be of German than of English origin.

German.  Frederick Buck arrived in Pennsylvania from the upper Rhone valley in Germany in 1743.  His son Philip Buck joined the British army during the Revolutionary War.  After the defeat his family made the long trek to Canada with other Empire Loyalists.

Johann Jacob Buck, however, did fight on the American side in the War.  He had arrived from Wurttemburg on the Neptune in 1751 and settled in Buffalo township, Pennsylvania.  So too did the sons of Johannes Buck who had arrived on the Two Brothers in 1747 and came to Lancaster county, Pennsylvania.  Nicholas Buck arrived from Lorraine in 1752 and settled in his Buckhill home in Springfield, Bucks county.  William Buck published An Account of the Buck Family of Bucks County in 1893.

Ludwig Buck was a German from Friedenstal in south Russia who came to America in the 1890's and ended up in Streeter, North Dakota.

Canada.  The Loyalist Phillip Buck and his family made their home at Trafalgar township in Halton county, Ontario.  His descendants held a reunion at the family Omagh home there in 1922.  The home of Dr. Anson Buck, grandson of Philip, is still standing although it is now Anson's restaurant.  Meanwhile descendants of Adam Buck moved back across the border to St. Louis in the 1880's.

Another Buck Loyalist who departed for Canada was Samuel Buck from Litchfield county, Connecticut.  His lands had been plundered after he joined the British cause.  In 1788 he departed with his family for Quebec.  He died there soon afterwards in a militia skirmish.  His family resettled in South Mountain, forty miles south of Ottawa.

Australia.  Two Buck brothers from Norfolk, Richard and William, came to Australia in 1849 and settled there, Richard in Western Australia and William in South Australia.  Richard joined exploration parties in search of an inland sea in Western Australia.

Select Buck Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for further stories and accounts:

Select Buck Names

Walter le Buc
was the Flemish founder of the Yorkshire and Lincolnshire Buck family.
Frank Buck was an American big game hunter who became a movie actor in the 1930's and 40's.
Pearl Buck was the American novelist based in China who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1938.

Select Bucks Today
  • 10,000 in the UK (most numerous in Worcestershire)
  • 16,000 in America (most numerous in Pennsylvania) 
  • 5,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)

PS.  You might want to check out the surnames page on this website.  It covers surname genealogy in this and companion websites for more than 800 surnames.

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