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Hopkins Family History
The Hopkins, or Hopkin, surname derives from 'Hob' or 'Hobbe', a diminutive of the personal name Robert. 'Hopkin' in this sense would mean 'little Robert', or in some cases 'the son of Robert'. Examples of early forms of the surname include 'Hobekyn', 'Hobkynnes' and 'Hobkyns'. Hopkinson and Hobson share the same origins.
In England it became established as a fixed hereditary surname by around 1400. Early bearers of the surname in that country include Agnes Hobkyn-wyf, Rogerus Hobson, and Alicia Hob-doghter who all appear on the 1379 Poll Tax of Yorkshire.
In Wales 'Hopkin' became popular as a personal name in the county of Glamorgan in particular during the 16th and 17th centuries, as well as in some parts of Montgomeryshire. In this specific context, the surname was therefore patronymic, and so would refer back to an ancestor whose given name was Hopkin. In such cases it meant 'son of Hopkin' ('ap Hopkyn' or 'ap Hopcyn') and would have gradually become a fixed, hereditary surname some time between the 16th and 19th centuries, depending on where in Wales the family in question lived.
In Ireland, while in most parts of the country Hopkin and Hopkins is of English origin, in Connacht and Co. Longford, where it is fairly numerous, it has been adopted as the modern form of the gaelicized Norman Mac Oibicin.
A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames (1896) by Charles Wareing Endell Bardsley
An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names (1857) by William Arthur
A Guide to Irish Names (1964) by Edward MacLysaght
Patronymica Britannica (1860) by Mark Antony Lower
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