This surname HOLBROOK was a locational name 'of Holbrook' a parish in County Suffolk, six miles from Ipswich, and a parish in County Derby. The name was originally derived from the Old English word HOLBROC, literally meaning the dweller by the sunken stream. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land and indicated where he actually lived. Early records of the name mention William de Holebrok, 1273, County Suffolk. William Hollbroke of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. In 1635, Thomas Holbrooke of Broudway, aged 34, with his wife, two sons and a daughter embarked for New England. This name was first taken to America by the brothers Thomas and John Holbrook who emigrated to Massachusetts in the 17th century; their line can be traced back to Dundry, Somerset in the first half of the sixteenth century. Other English bearers of the name who started early lines of descent in the New World are Joseph Houlbrook of Warrington, County Lancashire, who emigrated to Maryland as an indentured servant in the late seventeenth century. Randolph Holbrook, who was in Virginia in the 1720's but later returned to Nantwich, Cheshire, and the Reverend John Holbrook, who emigrated from Handbury, Staffordshire, to New Jersey about 1723. The spelling Haulbrook originated in Georgia in the 1870's, reflecting the Southern American pronunciation of the name. In many parts of central and western Europe, hereditary surnames began to become fixed at around the 12th century, and have developed and changed slowly over the years. As society became more complex, and such matters as the management of tenure, and in particular the collection of taxes were delegated to special functionaries, it became imperative to distinguish a more complex system of nomenclature to differentiate one individual from another. Several early American bearers of the name in the 1880 cencus, give their place of birth as Oldenburg, or Hanover, Germany. There are at least twelve variant spellings of this surname.
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