The surname of SLOCUM was a locational name 'of Slocombe', for example places in the Isle of Wight and in Devon. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. The name was originally derived from the Old English word SLAHCUMB, literally meaning the dweller in a valley. The name is very common in Devonshire. The acquisition of surnames in Europe and England, during the last eight hundred years has been affected by many factors, including social class and social structure, naming practices in cultures and traditions. On the whole the richer and more powerful classes tended to acquire surnames earlier than the working class or the poor, while surnames were quicker to catch on in urban areas than in more sparsely populated rural areas. The bulk of surnames in England were formed in the 13th and 14th centuries. The process started earlier and continued in place names into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the 11th century people did not have surnames, whereas by the 15th century they did. Early records of the name mention Henry Slocum or Sloocome, who registered at Oxford University in 1564. Gilbert Slocumbe of County Somerset, 1596, ibid. Thomas Slokam and Isabella Brown were married at St. James's, Clerkenwell, London in 1730. Joseph Thompson and Ann Slockham were married at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1808.
A notable member of the name was Joshua Slocum (1844-1910) the American mariner, born in Wilmot Township, Nova Scotia. Going early to sea as a ship's cook, in 1869, he captained a trading vessel off the Californian coast. In 1886 he set off with his second wife and two sons on a converted bark, AQUIDNECK for South America, was wrecked on a Brazilian sandbar, but from the wreckage built a canoe which took then all back to New York. In 1895 he took off from Boston without capital on the sloop SPRAY for the first solo cruise around the world arriving back at Newport in 1898 having supported himself by lecturing on the way. In November 1909 he set out once more, but was not heard of again.
The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. Registered in County Somerset.
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