Tonkin Name Study

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Surnames/tags: Tonkyn Tonken Tonking
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Kensol tra Tonkyn, ouna Dew mathern yn

Before all things Tonkin, fear God in the King

Origin of the surname Tonkin

The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and England report that Tonkin is a variant of Tomkin, from the Middle English personal name T(h)omkin , a diminutive of T(h)om(me), a pet form of Thomas.

Forebears quote several sources, saying that Tonkin means the son of Anthony, a diminutive of Anthony, Tony, with the suffix -kin.

My favourite comes from Thomas Tonkin Esq (1678-1742), who is quoted as saying:

I had hitherto look't upon it to be derived from the Christian name Thomas, and to be the same with Tomkins, and accordingly I find it written in some of my antient deeds Tomkin. But meeting lately with Mr. Keigwin etc, some well versed in the Cornish tongue, they will have it to be entirely Cornish, and to signify a Place on the Side of a Hill, deriving it from ton keyn, a ridge, or Side of a Hill; and though I know of no place in Cornwall at present so called, yet considering how common this name is, especially in the western part of this county, where they write it Tonken, I am apt to believe this to be the true etymology of it.
Parish of St Agnes by Thomas Tonkin edited Peter Aubrey Seymour Pool and HL Douch RIC Journal 1975-6

Note: A great resource for Cornish surnames is the Patronymica Cornu-Britannica the Etymology of Cornish surnames by Richard Stephen Charnock published 1870. But the Tonkin surname is not included, although references are made to Thomas Tonkin and the Parochial History of Cornwall.

About the Project

The Tonkin Name Study project serves as a collaborative platform to collect information on the Tonkin name. The hope is that other researchers like you will join the study to help make it a valuable reference point for other genealogists who are researching or have an interest in the Tonkin name.

As a One Name Study, this project is not limited to persons who are related biologically. Individual studies can be used to branch out the research into specific methods and areas of interest, such as geographically (England Tonkin's), by time period (18th Century Tonkin's), or by topic (Tonkin DNA, Tonkin Occupations, Tonkin Statistics). These studies may also include a number of family branches which have no immediate link with each other. Some researchers may even be motivated to go beyond the profile identification and research stage to compile fully sourced, single-family histories of some of the families they discover through this name study project.

Also see the related surnames and surname variants.

How to Join

To join the Tonkin Name Study, first start out by browsing our current research pages to see if there is a specific study ongoing that fits your interests. If so, feel free to add your name to the Membership list below, post an introduction comment on the specific team page, and then dive right in! Alternatively, contact Karyn Homburg Tonkin Name Study Coordinator.

... ... ... is a member of the Tonkin Name Study Project.

Once you are ready to go, you can also show your project affiliation with the ONS Member Sticker:


Research Pages

Here are some of the current research pages included in the study. I'll be working on them, and could use your help!

At this time I have not started a research page for DNA, but here are a couple of things that are of interest :


This profile is part of the Tonkin Name Study.
Adding this sticker will include profiles in the main Tonkin Name Study category:
{{One Name Study|name=Tonkin}}

Profiles will then be categorised by Country. In Australia and England you will find further categories for States/Counties. As you can imagine the England/Cornwall category is quite large, so it is broken down again via parishes. A great way to find connections is to check out other Tonkin's in these parishes!

Tonkin Name Study logo
... has Tonkin ancestors.
For a Tonkin descendant you can add this sticker. It will create a link to the Tonkin Name Study:
{{Heritage Sticker|ancestors=[[Space:Tonkin Name Study|Tonkin]]|image=Tonkin_of_St_Agnes_Cornwall.png|imagetext=Tonkin Name Study logo}}


A few things to keep an eye on :

Related Surnames and Surname Variants


Here are some great resources for Tonkin research :


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Comments: 2

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Hi Karyn, you have a wonderful one name study here! I am the lucky beneficiary of your research being a descendant of the Tonkin family in St Agnes, Cornwall. Thanks for all your work!
Thank you very much Leigh! I am glad that you have found the study useful :)
posted by Karyn Homburg

Categories: Tonkin Name Study