This surname ASKEW was a locational name 'of Aiskew' a township in the parish of Bedale, County York. This is the name on an old-established Cumberland family descended from Sir Hugh ASKEW, who received the lands of the convent of Seaton during the dissolution of the monasteries in 1543. Other spellings of the name include AISKEW, ASCHEW, AYSCOUGH, ASKEY, HASKEW and HASKEY. Almost every city, town or village extant in the Middle Ages has served to name one or more families. While a man lived in a town or village he would not be known by its name, as that would be no means of identification - all in the village would be so named. But when a man left his birthplace or village where he had been known and went elsewhere, people would likely refer to him by the name of his former residence or by the name of the land which he owned. Some had the name of a manor or village because they were lords of that place and owned it, but the majority descend from vassals of freeman who once had lived there. Other records of the name mention William de ASKECOGHE who was recorded in the year 1366 in County Lancashire and Edward ASKEWE of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God, however much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error. Among the humbler classes of European society, and especially among illiterate people, individuals were willing to accept the mistakes of officials, clerks and priests as officially bestowing a new version of their surname, just as they had meekly accepted the surname they had been born with. In North America, the linguistic problems confronting immigration officials at Ellis Island in the 19th century were legendary as a prolific source of Anglicization. Later instances of the name include Richard ASKOO who was documented in the year 1553 and Ellen ASCOUGH of Latham, County Lancashire was listed in the Wills at Chester in 1595. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Registered at Greymanes, County Cumberland, and afterwards of Newcastle, Durham and County Northumberland.
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