This surname PERKEY was a baptismal name 'the son of Peter', from the pet Perkin or Parkin, an ancient personal name. The name was extremely popular throughout Christian Europe in the Middle Ages, as it had been bestowed by Christ as a byname on the apostle Simon bar Jonah, the brother of Andrew. The name was chosen for its symbolic significance, is a translation of the Aramaic 'kefa' meaning a rock. St. Peter is regarded as the foundling father of the Christian church, and in Christian Germany in the 14th century was the most frequent given name. In England the vernacular form of Piers was usual at the time when surnames were being assumed. The name is also spelt PURKE, PURKISS and PERK. Early records of the name mention Edmund Perkyn of the County of Suffolk in 1327. John Perkyn of the County of Somerset was documented in the year 1377. William Perkyn was recorded in Wiltshire during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377). Johannes Perkyinson of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Robert Perkinson was registered at Oxford University in 1564. The small villages of Europe, or royal and noble households, even large religious dwellings and monasteries gave rise to many family names, which reflected the occupation or profession of the original bearer of the name. Following the Crusades in Europe in the 11th 12th and 13th centuries a need was felt for an additional name. This was recognized by those of gentle birth, who realised that it added prestige and practical advantage to their status. 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. A notable member of the name mentions Sir William Henry Perkin (1838-1907) the English chemist born in London. He worked as an assistant to August Hofmann, and in 1856 made the discovery of mauve, which led to the foundation of the aniline dye industry. His son William (1860-1929) became professor of chemistry at Manchester in 1892 and of Oxford in 1912.
The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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