The name Luke is derived from the Latin given name “Lucas”. It is believed the name or any variation of its spelling came to Britain by way of France. French soldiers returning from the Crusades in the Holy Lands are thought to have imported the Latin given name “Lucas” upon their return. The name Lucas is the Latin stylized version of the Greek name “Loucas”, which is topographical; as it was used in reference to a citizen of a region of southern Italy once known as Lucania.
Surnames in Britain prior to the Norman conquest were largely unheard of. In the small settlements and villages which existed during earlier times, residents found little need for surnames as everyone in these communities knew each other and a given name would usually suffice. However, with the passage of time, population growth and expansions of communities as villages gave way to towns and cities, it became necessary to add a qualifier to a people's names to distinguish them, one from another. Therefore one person may have been identified by their given name plus their occupation while another may have been identified by their given name and one of their parent's names. The introduction of surnames by the Norman aristocracy after the invasion seemed to be the next logical step in this evolution. There was a boundless supply from which surnames could be formed, in addition to the use of patriarchal/matriarchal names or reference to the individuals occupation, there were things such as defining physical traits, a familiar geographical location or a topographical landmark found near the individuals home or birthplace, the name of the village in which the person lived, and so much more. Soon, surnames would come not just to represent an individual but whole families.
There often exists variations in spelling of many surnames, as with many given names which date back to the early centuries. The variation in spelling of both given and surnames during this time period can be attributed to a lack of continuity regarding guidelines for spelling which was compounded by the diversity of languages in use in European countries at this time. The variations in the spelling of the surname Luke include but not limited to; Luke; Lucke; Luck; Louk; Louke; and Loucks among others.
The earliest record of any variation of this surname is that of Euerards Lucas which appears in the Knights Templar Registry in London tax rolls from 1153. The London tax rolls show records of Lucas de Luke from London in 1274. These rolls, were a series of census and tax records kept by the English Treasury by order of King Henry I, with the oldest dating back to the 12th century. They hold the distinction of being the oldest consecutive set of records detailing English governance in the United Kingdom. These records span a period of over 700 years and have proven invaluable to researches over the years. Additionally, the marriage of Christopher Lucas and Margaret Medcalfe appear in church records found in London dated 1571.
The first recorded immigrant to America bearing the surname or any variation of the spelling was William Luke who arrived in 1654 and settled in Virginia. Edward Luke landed and settled in Maryland in 1665 and Sarah Luke arrived and settled in Maryland in 1665.
There were also many immigrants to the British Common Wealth countries of Canada, Australia, and New Zealand bearing the surname Luke. Thomas Luke landed in 1749 and settled in Canada as did brothers, Nicholas and Philip Luke as did 1784. Christina Luke landed in 1838 and settled in Adelaide, Australia. Samuel Luke landed and settled in Adelaide, Australia in 1848. William and Jane Luke landed in 1864 and settled in Auckland, New Zealand. Louisa Luke landed and settled in Wellington, New Zealand in 1874.
Worldwide, the highest concentration of people with the surname Luke are found in New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada . By state, the largest percentile of those with the surname Luke live in Mississippi and Utah.
There are many persons of note who bear the surname Luke. Yudell Luke was born in Kansas City Missouri and was a respected and mathematician. During his life time he earned a masters degree in mathematics from the University of Illinois, where he became a professor, he served in the U.S. Military during World War II, and was one of the foremost contributors of research at MRIGlobal.
MRIGlobal was a not for profit research organization preformed not only independent research but also operated facilities for the Department of Defense as well as the Department of Energy.