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Greatorex/Greatrakes Origins
Posted by: R Gratreaks Date: June 10, 2001 at 16:05:05
  of 195

Greatorex is the oldest misspelling of the original name. The original name was Greatrakes. It was common in England to take one's occupation as the basis for the family name. A "rake" was a vein of ore in a mine. We had the great rake. The story about the name meaning Great King, although a nice idea, is linguistically and historically inaccurate. The family came to Derbyshire from Wales sometime in the 1400-1500s. There were Greatrakes, Deeprakes, Longrakes and Smallrakes. When the plague broke out in Derbyshire in 1666, most relatives fled the county. The appearance of Greatrakes in Ireland came after the King solicited the aid of the English people to fight the Irish and if the English were to win, the King would grant land to the soldiers. A minor historical figure in Ireland is Valentine Greatrakes, from the late 1600's, whose house still stands. He was a healer. Several years ago, I heard they were to make the house a museum. The earliest appearance I've found in America is when a Greatorex, his son & the son's wife came to New York from London in 1810. They were musicians and retired in the Carolinas. What I have been unable to find is who the Greatrakes were in Wales, as they had taken the family name in Wormhill, Derbyshire. The Greatrakes/Greatorex families are usually talented musicians/vocalists - it's in your diluted Welsh blood.


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