History of the Stark Surname
In Scotland, the family name is an old one. In
the words of Sir George Mackenzie (1636-1691), a legend, then nearly 200 years
old, proclaimed one origin of the name in Scotland.
"Stark, beareth azur, a chevron,
argent, between three acorns in chief, or, and bull's head erased of ye
2nd base. Those of ye name are descended on one John Muirhead, 2nd son
of ye Lord of Lachop, who at hunting in ye forest of Cumbernauld, one
day seeing King James ye IV in hazard of his life by a bull hotly
pursued by ye hounds stept in between ye King and ye bull, and gripping
ye bull by ye horns and by his great strength almost tore ye head from
it for which he was called Stark and his posteritie after him and bears
ye rugged bull's head in their arms. Ye old sword of ye family has on it
"Stark, alias Muirhead."
The origins of the Stark surname in North America
began with the arrival of Aaron Stark in New England
between 1630 and 1637 —
most likely from Scotland or England. He was born about 1608 and died in 1685 in
New London County, Connecticut. His service in the Pequot War under
Captain John Mason in May of 1637, is the first record we have of him
in Connecticut. He eventually settled in New London County, Connecticut in
a region that later became Groton Township. Aaron Stark had three sons named Aaron Stark (Junior), John
Stark, and William Stark (Senior). John Stark had no sons to whom he could have passed his
surname. William Stark (Senior) and Aaron Stark (Junior) had numerous male descendants;
many living today who carry the surname
About 75 to 100 years after the arrival of Aaron Stark in
men with the surnames Stark and Starke arrived in New Hampshire and Virginia. Their names
were Dr. Richard Starke of Virginia, James Stark of Stafford County, Virginia,
and Archibald Stark of New Hampshire (the father of General John Stark of Revolutionary
War fame). The genealogical research has not been able to determine if these
three men were related. However, independent research of each has
suggested their ancestral home could have been in or
near Glasgow, Lanark, Scotland.
As Stark pioneers began to move westward, descendants of the progenitors of these four early arrivals
in North America became mixed in the records as they settled in the same
regions. In some instances, some of the descendants of Aaron Stark began to
spell their name "Starks." This occurred most often in New
Hampshire, Vermont, and Northeastern New York where the descendants of
Archibald lived. Some spelled the name Starke and were descendants of Dr.
Richard Starke. About 1732, descendants of William Stark (Senior) — son of
Aaron Stark — moved to New Jersey and later migrated into Virginia,
western Pennsylvania, and later into Kentucky and Indiana. At about the same
time, descendants of James Stark of Stafford County, Virginia moved into
these same regions. As occurred in the Northeast, these families also became
mixed in the records.
In later years, many German immigrants
arrived, having the surnames Stark, Starks, Starke, Starkes, and Stork. These would be new
lines, having arrived anywhere between 1750 and the present. Within this
time frame, more recent arrivals came from Great Britain.
In 1896, the Stark Family Association was
created for the purpose of collecting and preserving the genealogy of the
early arrivals to North America. From 1903 to 1952, an annual yearbook
was published by the Association on the activities and research of it's many
members located throughout the United States and Canada. In 1927,
Charles R. Stark compiled a genealogy based on the Association's research entitled; "The Aaron Stark Family, Seven Generations of the Family of
Aaron Stark of Groton, Connecticut." This publication recorded 2,171
descendants of Aaron. Today, the number of descendants recorded has grown to
approximately 15,000. [See Descendants
of Aaron Stark (1608-1685) of Connecticut.]
In 2002, an excellent genealogy of the family of General
John Stark entitled "The Family of General John Stark (1728-1822)" was
published by Jane Stark Maney, which has a large collection of the
descendants of Archibald Stark. Another publication entitled "James
Stark of Stafford County, Virginia and His Descendants" was compiled by
Mary Kathryn Harris and Mary Iva Jean Jorgensen.
Although there is a wealth of genealogical research available
on these families, we do not as yet know where Aaron Stark lived in Scotland;
nor do we have proof he came from England. While the Genealogy suggests Dr.
Richard Starke, James Stark, and Archibald Stark have their origins in
Glasgow, Lanark, Scotland, documentation has not been found which positively
records they were relatives. Further more, many Aaron Stark family
researchers believed Aaron was related to the New Hampshire family —
Y-DNA Project providing proof their descendants are not related.
This Project may help answer these
Was Aaron Stark related to Dr. Richard
Starke, James Stark, and Archibald Stark? [ANSWERED]
Were Dr. Richard Starke, James Stark,
and Archibald Stark Related? [ANSWERED]
did the common ancestor of Richard, James and Archibald live? (See
Genetic Genealogy Report)
Is there any relationship of these
families to the other Stark families of Virginia? [ANSWERED]
How are other Stark Ancestors related
to other families with the surname Stark?
Is there a connection of any Stark
families to the Muirhead families of Scotland?
What is the Country of origin of the
America Stark family progenitors.
Do any of the Stark families of
Scotland have ancestors in common with the Stark families of
Stark DNA Fund is a fund established in conjunction
with Family Tree DNA for people to contribute funds towards the cost of DNA
testing. This fund will be used to help defray the cost of the Y-chromosome
DNA test. All contributions will be sent directly to Family Tree DNA and
deposited into a general fund earmarked for the
Stark DNA Project.
Contributors may specify how the funds are to be used, i.e. for example, to the
descendants of John Stark and Mary Smith; or for a test for a specific
participant; or they may make a general contribution to be used by any
participant who meets the criteria for using the fund. A General Fund
contribution can also be made "in memory" of someone. Donations of any size will be
to contribute to the fund.