Hoskins Surname

"Though it has suffered at times, like all surnames, from the vagaries of parish clerks in remote villages, who have rendered it as Haskins frequently (in which seventeenth-century form it survives to this day in America) and occasionally even as Huskins and Heskins."
From "A History of The Hoskins Family of Devon and Dorset" by W. G. Hoskins  
"Both the Dorset and the Herefordshire branches of our family have arms similar to those of the Herberts, which suggest a common origin for branches somewhere within the sway of the Herberts in Glamorgan"
 From "A History of The Hoskins Family of Devon and Dorset" by W. G. Hoskins


Hoskins Surname Overview

Surnames provide a window into the history of a family and can be used to understand their origins. Because surnames are adopted based on either an ancestor's occupation, location, physical attribute or name of a parent, and then passed on generation after generation; they provide an insight into a family at the point when surnames were adopted.

British researcher, Professor Paul Longley at University College of London, has discovered that surnames also have a tendency to cluster in specific regions and show a high degree of relatedness.  As the map at the right shows, the Hoskins surname clusters into two major regions: Dorset and Monmouthshire.  These two locations are consistent with Anthony Hoskins' heritage according to family legend and other facts. 

Below is information about the origins of the Hoskins surname. As these sources confirm, the name has its origins in "Os" or "As" based Germanic words. This fact provides corroboration of Anthony Hoskins ancestors being connected to Norse or Germanic populations. Since many Normans (Northmen of Normandy), were Vikings from Denmark, the connection of the Hoskins name to this population is consistent. 

Hoskins & Osekins

Hoskins English: from the Middle English personal name Osekin, a pet form of the various personal names with an Old English first element os ‘god’ (See:Æsir below.) . Compare, for example, Osborn, Osgood, and Osmond, or its Old Norse cognate ás. For the inorganic initial H-, compare Herrick. The addition in English of an inorganic H- to names beginning with a vowel is a relatively common phenomenon.

Osekin, Oskins, - Bapt.    One of the many pet forms ending in kin (ef. Wilkin).  Oskin would be the familiar appellation of some Osmund Osbern Oswin or Osbert.  It is quite possible that Hoskins is its present representative. The aspirate presents no difficulty and the final s is of course genitive as in Tompkins or Jones v Hosken.  Osekin without surname London 1373 A Robert Osekin London ibid Philadelphia.

(A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames With Special American Instances By Charles Wareing Endell Bardsley,   page 573)

Norman names

The Normans took with them to Normandy their characteristic Scandinavian names such as ON Hrolfr, ODa, OSw Rolf, sometimes Latinised as Rollo, the name of the first Duke of Normandy. This was common in England after the Conquest where it is sometimes AngloScandinavian for it is found as the name of a Lincolnshire peasant in 1142, but it was more often of Norman origin, having become OFr Roul. It is the source of numerous modern surnames, including Rolfe, Rolls, Roffe and Rowe. The modern Randolph is ON Rannavlfr,shield-wolf', brought to England by the Normans as Randulf and often confused with the equally common OG Rannulf 'raven-wolf'.

In Normandy, as in England, the Normans adopted the native language of their conquered subjects, but whereas in England they brought over a flood of new personal-names which ultimately swamped those of native origin, in Normandy they quickly adopted the personal-names in use in France. The Conqueror himself was William, son of Robert, and his sons were named Robert, Richard, William and Henry, compounds of continental Germanic origin of a type with which the Normans were familiar. At the same time they retained a number of their native names, chiefly compounds of As-, -ketel and Thor-, and these, too, they brought to England but modified by a French pronunciation with the result that in post-Conquest England it is often impossible to decide definitely whether a man with a name of Scandinavian origin is English or Norman by birth. Compounds of ON As- and the cognate OE Os- `divinity, god' are numerous in England but the determination of their ultimate origin is rendered difficult as, already before the Conquest, the English substituted their native Os- for the Scandinavian form, the name of Asketill, leader of the Danish army from Repton to Cambridge in 874, appearing in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in the anglicised form Oscytel. The native origin of Osm-Fr (Osmer) and Oswine (Oswin) is proved by their early occurrence, as is Osmund (Osmond), the name of an eighth-century king of Sussex, but Osbern and Osgod are not found in England before the eleventh century and are either anglicisations of ON Asbio,rn and Asgautr or importations from Normandy. Despite the seventh and eighth century examples of OE Osloc, Haslock and Hasluck are from the ON Aslakr.

The whole problem is further complicated by the use in France of the OG cognates Ans- and (5s-. In Normandy ON Asbiqrn and Asmundr generally appear in the Saxon forms Osbern and bsmund, whilst the corresponding Frankish (OLG) forms Ansger and Ansgot are found for ON Asgeirr and Asgautr (anglicised as Osgar and ZSsgod). This Ans-later became An-. All the varieties appear in postConquest England with the result that we cannot be certain whether Osgood and Hosegood are from the late OE Osgod, from ON Asgautr or from this Scandinavian name which was also common in Normandy. Angood is certainly from the Frankish Ansgot, Angot.

The post-Conquest clerks, who were largely of French birth or training, showed a marked tendency to give personal-names the continental spelling and pronunciation with which they were familiar, often giving a man's name in more than one form, but modern survivals prove that many of these varied forms were in actual use. ON Asketill, for instance, preserves its Scandinavian form in Ashkettle, Askell, Astelland Haskell and the Frankish form in Anketell, Ankettle, Anquetel, Ankill and Antell. In Northern France it occurs also as Anquetin and Asketin, the latter giving us the modem surnames Askins, Astin, Ashken, Haskins and Hastin. Most of our Osberns and Osberts probably owe their name to the Saxon form common in Normandy.

Medieval scribes added or omitted an initial H at whim and inserted many a medial inorganic h, sometimes with unfortunate results.Handsaker,from Handsacre (St), was found by one writer on surnames as Handeshakerwhich he ingenuously explained as a nickname, 'hand-shaker'. One result of this instability of the aspirate is that we have a number of doublets in which the H is an excrescence, as Adkins, Hadkins; Askin, Haskin; Arkwright, Hartwriglzt; Earnshaw, Hearnshaw; Evans, Heavens; Oldham, Holdham; Osgood, Hosegood. In some names the original form has been ousted by that with the inorganic H: Hosker (OE Osgar), Hoskin (a compound of Os-), Haslock (ON Aslakr); in Arlott (OR harlot `young fellow') and Elwes (OFr Helois), the aspirate has completely disappeared. Hexter is for Exeter.

The Normans, too, were of Scandinavian origin and at the time of the Conquest still used some of their native names and brought them to England, some of them modified by French pronunciation. ON Asketill (now Aslzkettle) was popular in Normandy as Ansclzetilland Anketill, whence the modern Anketell, Ankettle, Ankill and Antell. It was also used in Normandy in the forms Anketin, Asketin and Astin, all of which still survive in the surnames Ankin, Antin, Askin, Astins, Haskins, Haskings and Hastins. ON Porsteinn was common in the Danelaw and has given us Thurstan, Thurston and Thirsting; in Normandy it was also popular as Turstin, whence the modern Tusten, Tusting, Tutin and Tuting.

Occasionally -kin is compounded with a personal-name of English origin: Dodkin(OE Dodda), Lovekin, Lufkin (Lufa), Luuekin 1221.AssSa, Hoskin, from Osekin 1274 RH (Lo), a diminutive of Os-, a short form of such names as Osgod, Osbeorn, etc., and the obsolete William Budekin 1279RH (C), from OE Budda and Adam Swetekynes 1323 AssSt (OE Sweta). The only evidence found to support the general opinion that Hawkin is for Halkin, a diminutive of Harry is Halkin 1315 PN Db 102. Havekin (1248-1365)is the normal form, for Havek-in, a diminutive of OE Hafoc, and not a name in -kin.

It would appear, therefore, that -kin was adopted in English from Flemish and used freely as a diminutive suffix added to the pet- forms of those common names of French origin which were particularly used by the lower classes. It is noteworthy how often we find the same names compounded with -cock. In our documents they form a very small proportion of the whole, usually about one-half of 1 per cent

Compounds which can be proved to be of purely Flemish origin are rare and are confined to names which were in common use. Most of the Flemings either went back home, taking their names with them, or, when they were not called simply Flerning, Flanders, Brabant or Brabason, were given English occupational- names or nicknames. The fourteenth-century Dutchmen of Colchester left no permanent influence on the surnames of the district.

Neither christian names nor surnames in -kin are common in the Subsidy Rolls. Nor are they frequent in the towns. From the abundant material used by Ekwall in his studies of London names for the period 1086-1350, only three christian names and three surnames of this type have been noted: Hankin de Arras 1292 SRLo (now Hankin, Hanking), Bankyn de Brounlexk 1319 SRLo, a merchant of Florence and Notekyn de Lincolne (ib.), whose name might be one origin of Nutkins; two of the surnames still survive, John Oskyn 1292 SRLo and John Maikyn 1319 SRLo (Hoskin, Makin); the third, John Cotekyn (ib.), may, like the modern Coste and Costins, be a hypocoristic of Constantine. Among the 2,700 names in the Norwich Deeds of 1285-1341 there are only four surnames of this type, including Malkin and Lamekyn, with the obsolete Robert Thornekynl (1334) and Thomas Ridekyn (1336). In these documents, however, we have only the names of the upper classes, officials and owners of property. It was clearly not among these but among the artisans of the towns and the labourers of the countryside that names in -kin and - cock were popular. There is some evidence, however, that the diminutive meaning of these names was realised and that they were used at times as pet-names or to distinguish father from son. William de Ros is called also Wilekin 1200-1 Cur (K), and Symond Skynner, Symkyn, 1466 AD v (Lo), whilst we have seen that Janekyn was used to distinguish the younger John Hastang from his father of the same name.

 (From The Origin of English Surnames by P.H. Reaney)


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In Old Norse, the Æsir (singular Áss, feminine Ásynja, feminine plural Ásynjur, Anglo- Saxon Ós, from Proto- Germanic *Ansuz) are the principal gods of the pantheon of Norse mythology. They include many of the major figures, such as Odin, Frigg, Thor, Baldr and Tyr. A second clan of gods, the Vanir, is also mentioned in the Norse mythos: the god Njord and his children, Freyr and Freyja, are the most prominent Vanir gods who join the Æsir as hostages after a war between Æsir and Vanir. The Vanir appear to have mainly been connected with cultivation and fertility, the Æsir with power and war.

The word áss, Proto-Germanic *ansuz is believed to be derived from Proto-Indo- European *ansu- 'breath, god' related to Sanskrit asura and Avestan ahura with the same meaning; though in Sanskrit asura came to mean 'demon'. The cognate Old English form to áss is os 'god, deity', as in the still-current surname Osgood, or the first names Oswin, Osbert, Oswald, Osborn, Osmund (but Oscar is an unrelated Gaelic name).