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Family spelling variants includes Cocks, Coakes, Cookes, Cooks, Cowx, Coxe

COX Family History


This interesting surname has a number of possible origins. Firstly, it may have originated as a nickname from the bird, the cock, deriving from the Olde English pre 7th Century "cocc", and applied to a young lad who strutted proudly like a cock. The nickname may also have referred to a natural leader, or an early riser, or a lusty or aggressive individual. It may also have derived from the Olde English personal names "Cocc" or "Cocca", found in placenames, although not on independent record. But as "cock" became a common term for a boy, it may also have been used affectionately as a personal name...


Cox (Variants: Cocks, Coakes, Cookes, Cooks, Cowx, Coxe) In English, the surname is a variant of Cock or Cook. In Irish, it is adopted by mistranslation for Mac Con Coille (‘son of Cú Choille ’, a personal name meaning ‘hound of the wood’), taken as being formed with coileach ‘cock’ or ‘rooster’. It may be the same as Cook, from its Latinised form, Cocus, Cocks, Cox.

Cock was applied both to early risers and those who strutted proudly. A personal name used as a term of familiarity for a ‘sharp and forward lad’. The word is also often used to signify a leader or chief man. A possible synonym of Little, often a term of endearment. A diminutive, the same as ot or kin, used as termination – Willcox (little Will).

Earlier occurrences with the derivative names; Roger le Kokes, 1332 in Subsidy Rolls (Staffs); John Cocks, 1332 in Subsidy Rolls (Cumb). Other early bearers of the surname in widespread locations include George Cox, 1538 in IGI (North Cray, Kent), William Cox, 1540 in IGI (Norwich, Norfolk); Margere Cox, 1542 in IGI (Steeple Ashton, Wilts); John Cox, 1557 in IGI (Colyton, Devon); Annis Cox, 1561 in IGI (Crowle, Worcs).

In 1891, the general population was widespread across England and Wales with 47,570 occurrences. There were a further 641 occurrences in Scotland.

In 1881, the surname was numerous in the county of Gloustershire with 2,088 occurrences and was a top surname in the Bristol area.

Thomas Cox, a Welsh convict from Brecon, Wales was transported aboard the "Asia" on September 3rd, 1820, settling in New South Wales, Australia.

A notable British historian and mythologist, George William Cox (1827-1902) was a notable bearer of the surname. He is known for resolving the several myths of Greece and the world into idealisations of solar phenomena.


1881, 1891 Census

1881 Census in Gloustershire

Dictionary of American Family Homes, P Hanks OUP 2003

Homes of Family Names in Great Britain, H.B. Guppy, London 1890

The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland, P.Hanks, Coats, McClure OUP 2016

1860 Lower, Mark A Patronymica Britannica: a dictionary of the family names of the United Kingdom, London: J.R Smith. Public Domain

1857 Arthur, William An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. New York: Sheldon, Blakeman. Public Domain



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    Stephen d. Cox

    my family came from spartanburg, s.c.area. my dad was hubert cox born 1917 in moore, s.c, his father was john cox, I was told that his father was from same area, but some siblings moved to knoxville, tn. area. my mother was elizabeth azora gregory cox born in charlotte, n.c.1921, my name is stephen d. cox born 1956 in lakeland, fl. it was said that there is cherokee indian in the great, great era on the cox side. I would love to know about our family cox name, where our ansestors were from. my phone# is 813-992-2287 feel free to call anytime!
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    My 3rd Paternal Great Grandfather - PETER COX was born abt 1845 in or at COOLAVIN, County SLIGO. His parents were JOHN COX - a butcher(born abt 1820) & Margaret DEVLIN. Peter COX married Sarah TOCHAL in 1867 in Port Glasgow, Scotland & lived the remainder of his life in Glasgow, Scotland working as a labourer in the ship building yards.
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