Sykes last name popularity, history, and meaning

Find out how popular the last name Sykes is in the United States and learn more about the meaning, history, and race and ethnic origin of people in America who are named Sykes.

Meaning of Sykes

An English toponymic surname derived from a place name meaning "boundary ditch" in Old English.

Sykes, like all of the last names we have data for, is identified by the U.S. Census Bureau as a surname which has more than 100 occurrences in the United States in the Decennial Census survey. The most recent statistics we have for the Sykes surname is from the 2010 census data.

Popularity of Sykes in America

Sykes is the 1276th most popular name in America based on the data we have collected from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Sykes surname appeared 27,546 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 9 people would have the surname Sykes.

We can also compare 2010 data for Sykes to data from the previous census in 2000. The table below contains all of the statistics for both years in a side-by-side comparison.

2010 2000 Change (%)
Rank 1276 1214 4.98%
Count 27,546 26,425 4.15%
Proportion per 100k 9.34 9.80 -4.81%

The history of the last name Sykes

The surname Sykes has its origins in England, emerging in the late 12th or early 13th century. It is derived from the Old Norse word 'sík', meaning a small stream or drainage ditch. The name likely originated as a topographic name, referring to someone who lived near a small stream or ditch.

One of the earliest recorded instances of the name can be found in the Yorkshire Poll Tax Returns of 1379, where a Robert del Syke is listed. This suggests that the name was already well-established in the county of Yorkshire by the late 14th century.

The Domesday Book, compiled in 1086, does not contain any direct references to the surname Sykes. However, it does mention various places with similar names, such as Sike in Derbyshire and Syke in Staffordshire, which may have been the source of the surname.

In the 16th century, the name appeared with various spellings, including Sike, Syke, and Sikes. One notable bearer of the name was Richard Sykes (c. 1510-1557), an English clergyman and Protestant reformer who served as a canon of St. Paul's Cathedral in London.

During the 17th century, the surname Sykes became more widespread across England. One prominent figure was Sir George Sykes (1622-1686), a successful merchant and politician who served as Lord Mayor of York in 1669.

In the 18th century, Joseph Sykes (1723-1799) was a notable English dissenting minister and tutor who founded an academy for the education of ministers in Leeds. Another notable bearer of the name was Sir Mark Masterman Sykes (1771-1823), a British politician and landowner.

The 19th century saw the emergence of several distinguished individuals with the surname Sykes. These included Sir Tatton Sykes (1826-1913), a wealthy English landowner and philanthropist, and Sir Percy Molesworth Sykes (1867-1945), a British diplomat and explorer who published extensively on his travels in Persia and Afghanistan.

Throughout its history, the surname Sykes has been associated with various places in England, particularly in Yorkshire and the surrounding areas. While it may have originated as a topographic name, it has since become a well-established and widely distributed surname in the English-speaking world.

Race and ethnic origin of people with the last name Sykes

We also have some data on the ancestry of people with the surname Sykes.

The below race categories are the modified race categories used in the Census Bureau's population estimates program. All people were categorized into six mutually exclusive racial and Hispanic origin groups:

  1. White only
  2. Black only
  3. American Indian and Alaskan Native only
  4. Asian and Pacific Islander only
  5. Hispanic
  6. Two or More Races

For the most recent 2010 census data, the race/ethnic origin breakdown for Sykes was:

Race/Ethnicity Percentage Total Occurrences
Non-Hispanic White Only 54.03% 14,883
Non-Hispanic Black Only 40.82% 11,244
Non-Hispanic Asian and Pacific Islander Only 0.40% 110
Non-Hispanic American Indian and Alaskan Native 0.33% 91
Non-Hispanic of Two or More Races 2.44% 672
Hispanic Origin 1.99% 548

Note: Any fields showing (S) means the data was suppressed for privacy so that the data does not in any way identify any specific individuals.

Since we have data from the previous census in 2000, we can also compare the values to see how the popularity of Sykes has changed in the 10 years between the two census surveys.

2010 2000 Change (%)
White 54.03% 56.45% -4.38%
Black 40.82% 39.91% 2.25%
Asian and Pacific Islander 0.40% 0.34% 16.22%
American Indian and Alaskan Native 0.33% 0.31% 6.25%
Two or More Races 2.44% 1.73% 34.05%
Hispanic 1.99% 1.26% 44.92%

Data source

The last name data and ethnic breakdown of last names is sourced directly from the Decennial Census survey, conducted every 10 years by the United States Census Bureau.

The history and meaning of the name Sykes was researched and written by our team of onomatology and genealogy experts.

If you have a correction or suggestion to improve the history of Sykes, please contact us.

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"Sykes last name popularity, history, and meaning". Accessed on July 22, 2024.

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