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BARKER Family History

This interesting surname, with variant spelling Berker, has two possible origins. Firstly, it may be a metonymic occupational name for a tanner of leather deriving from the Olde English pre 7th Century "be(o)rc" and Middle English "bark(en)" meaning to tan (from the bark of a tree, which was used in the process). One Hordan le Barkere, appears as a witness in the Assize Court Rolls of Essex (1255). The surname may also have derived from the Old French "berch(i)er", "berk(i)er" a shepherd. With the change of "-ar-" to "-er-" in Middle English ("barker" meaning shepherd) this became indistinguishable in form from "barker" a tanner...
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