This interesting surname derives from two possible origins. Firstly it may be of English topographical origin from the Old English word "broc", a brook, stream, plus the agent suffix "-er",used to describe a dweller at, hence "dweller at the brook". There is also a place called Brook in Kent and Wiltshire, from the same Old English word"broc" as above. Also the name may be an occupational name used to denote a broker, originating from the Anglo-French word "brocour",one who sells an agent in business transactions. The earliest recordings of the surname appear in the 13th Century (see below). John le Brouker was recorded in the 1327, Subsidy Rolls of Sussex. William le Brocker was listed in the 1326,Feet of fines Rolls. The Close Rolls in 1332, record a Elena Brocker. Kirby's Quest for Somerset recorded an Adam Brocker in 1328. Geoffrey Broker, aged 17,an immigrant to the New World, sailed aboard the "Merchant's Hope", bound for Virginia in July 1635. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Brokere, which was dated 1296,Subsidy Rolls of Sussex, during the reign of King Edward 1, "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Through out the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop"often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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There are many people who carry the surname of Brooker . In the 1881 census, the greatest concentration was in Kent with total occurrences of 804, Surrey with 708,Sussex with 627 and London with 580. Although biased towards counties that have more people in them overall, it does show where the majority of people called Brooker lived at this time.
For a look at maps that show the distribution of the name in 1881 and 1998, try this site:
Some branches came to the colonies as settlers in the 19th century. There is a story persisting in one of the New Zealand and Australian branches that their Brooker ancestor is descended from the British Prime Minister Spencer Perceval who was assassinated in 1812. While this is yet to be proven or disapproved, a brick wall in the research has been reached around 1800 in London.
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