WALKER Surname Meaning and Origin

Getty / Karina Mansfield

Walker is an occupational surname for a fuller, or one who originally "walked" on raw, damp cloth in order to shrink and thicken it. Derived from the Middle English walkcere, meaning "a fuller of cloth," and the Old English wealcan, "to walk or tread."

Walker is the 28th most popular surname in the United States and the 15th most common in England.

Surname Origin: English, Scottish

Alternate Surname Spellings: WALLKER, WALKAR, WALKERE

Where in the World is the WALKER Surname Found?

The Walker surname is "mainly characteristic" of the midlands and of the north of England, according to surname distribution data from Forebears, especially in Yorkshire, where it ranks 5th, as well as Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Staffordshire, Durham and Lancashire. Based on their data, Walker ranks as the 18th most common surname in England, 14th in Australia, 12th in New Zealand, 21st in Scotland and 25th in the United States.

WorldNames PublicProfiler identifies the Walker surname as most common in East Riding of Yorkshire, England, followed by the regions of middle and northern England and southern Scotland.

Famous People with the Surname WALKER:

  • George F. Walker - Canadian playwright
  • Charles D. Walker - American astronaut
  • Dorothy Walker Bush - mother of the 41st U.S. President George H. W. Bush, and grandmother of the 43rd U.S. President George W. Bush
  • Herschel Walker - American football player
  • Mary Edwards Walker - American activist
  • William Walker - American adventurer, filibuster and soldier; President of Nicaragua (1856-1857).
  • Alice Walker - African American novelist and author of "The Color Purple."
  • Craven Walker - Inventor of the lava lamp.

Genealogy Resources for the Surname WALKER:

100 Most Common U.S. Surnames & Their Meanings
Smith, Johnson, Williams, Jones, Brown... Are you one of the millions of Americans sporting one of these top 100 common last names from the 2000 census?

Common English Surnames & Their Meanings
Explore the meanings and origins of the 100 most common English surnames.

Walker Family History Project
This site is dedicated to collecting and recording genealogical information about Walker ancestors worldwide, and includes a number of online databases.

John Walker Family Organization
Family history of the descendants of Robert Walker and Sarah Leager who came from England to Boston via the Winthrop Fleet of 1630.

Walker Surname DNA Project
Over 500 Walkers from around the world have joined together to establish a database of Walker DNA haplotypes to determine which Walker lineages share a common ancestor.

FamilySearch - WALKER Genealogy
Explore over 10 million historical records and lineage-linked family trees posted for the Walker surname and its variations on the free FamilySearch website, hosted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

WALKER Surname & Family Mailing Lists
RootsWeb hosts several free mailing lists for researchers of the Walker surname.

DistantCousin.com - WALKER Genealogy & Family History
Free databases and genealogy links for the last name Walker.

Walker Genealogy Forum
Search the archives for posts about Walker ancestors, or post your own Walker query.


References: Surname Meanings & Origins

Cottle, Basil. Penguin Dictionary of Surnames. Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books, 1967.

Dorward, David. Scottish Surnames. Collins Celtic (Pocket edition), 1998.

Fucilla, Joseph. Our Italian Surnames. Genealogical Publishing Company, 2003.

Hanks, Patrick and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford University Press, 1989.

Hanks, Patrick. Dictionary of American Family Names. Oxford University Press, 2003.

Reaney, P.H. A Dictionary of English Surnames. Oxford University Press, 1997.

Smith, Elsdon C. American Surnames. Genealogical Publishing Company, 1997.


>> Back to Glossary of Surname Meanings & Origins


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Powell, Kimberly. "WALKER Surname Meaning and Origin." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, thoughtco.com/walker-name-meaning-and-origin-1422639. Powell, Kimberly. (2020, August 27). WALKER Surname Meaning and Origin. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/walker-name-meaning-and-origin-1422639 Powell, Kimberly. "WALKER Surname Meaning and Origin." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/walker-name-meaning-and-origin-1422639 (accessed March 30, 2023).