Just found this forum. Thought I'd include my knowledge, (for what it's worth) Have'nt read all of the other messages so excuse me if this is 'old hat'.
As far as I have learned, the 'Great Rakes' i.e. the walkers of the 'High Peak' areas, became the name we share today a couple of hundred years ago. The region was Wirksworth, where most of our name-bearing gravestones can be found. My great great great grandfather owned the 'Malt and Shovel Inn' in the region and I have managed to trace this end to the 15th Century, although a forefather was hanged for sheep-stealing according to the Domesday Book (such infamy!)
If anybody can trace themselves directly to me, I would love to hear from them - got a stack of records tracing the family back (even to Alice Springs!) from a good contact I had who was living in Kent.
My line of the family tended to be called Samuel, William or John on the male side.
I originally came from Manchester and can supply any of my antecedents details to any interested party.
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