Select Starbuck Surname Genealogy

The Starbuck name is believed to have originated from the village of Starbeck, a hamlet between Ripon and Knaresborough in north Yorkshire and, in medieval times, within the royal hunting forest of Knaresborough. Its earliest appearance as a surname was a Robertus Starbok in the poll tax returns for Yorkshire in 1379. Starbeck and Starbok over time became Starbuck.

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Select Starbuck Ancestry

England.  The Starbuck name came from Yorkshire.  There are still traces of the name in Wakefield, but little elsewhere in the county.  The Starbuck name distribution in England has instead been mainly centered further south, around the counties of Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire, with some spillover into Lincolnshire and Derbyshire. 

Leicestershire  The Starbuck name was to be found in Leicestershire in the mid 1600's in the village of Lubenham near Market Harborough.  These Starbucks apparently earned their living from the river trade.  The name appeared later in villages in the vale of Belvoir such as Long Clawson, Stathern,, Harston, and Branston.  One Leicestershire line began in 1687 with Joseph Starbuck from Hose.

Lincolnshire  John Starbuck was born in Deeping St. James, Lincolnshire in 1810.  Another John Starbuck started a photography business in Boston, Lincolnshire in the 1850's.  A third John Starbuck, from Sutton St. Edmond in Lincolnshire, emigrated with his family to Australia in the 1850's. 

Kent  There has been a Starbuck outpost in the southeast, in Gravesend in Kent.  J&R Starbuck is a family business of ship chandlers founded soon after 1634 when William Starbuck, a Quaker, arrived in Gravesend from Leicester.  The earliest documentary evidence of the business is recorded in the Gravesend archives in February 1718 when Will's grandson Isaac took on an apprentice ropemaker, William Bland, from the workhouse.  J&R Starbuck has continued and passed to Sally Starbuck in 1993.

  Edward Starbuck from Derbyshire brought his name to America and New England in 1635. Tradition has it that Edward Starbuck was a man of commanding presence, very adept in dealing with the local Indians.   He and Tristram Coffin sailed to Nantucket island off Cape Cod in 1661 with other settlers to establish a colony there.  His son Nathaniel married Tristram's daughter Mary.  It was Mary Coffin Starbuck, sometimes called "the Great Mary," who introduced Quakerism into the island. 

The late 18th century saw Nantucket's rise as a whaling port.  Joseph Starbuck was perhaps the richest and most successful whale oil merchant of his time.  He built three identical federal style mansions on Main Street for his three sons.  His story is narrated in Will Gardner's 1948 book Three Bricks and Three Brothers. The overall genealogy of the Nantucket Starbucks is covered in James Carlton Starbuck's 1984 book Starbucks All

When the whaling industry began to decline, some Starbucks moved from Nantucket to North Carolina and then onto Indiana.  One line has been traced there to Wayne county, another to the town of Salem.  There were also Starbucks in Tennessee and Missouri by the 1850's and 1860's.  William H. Starbuck was a 19th century railroad financier from New York.  It would appear that he gave his name to Starbuck, Minnesota and to Starbuck, Manitoba

Hermann Melville named one of his characters in Moby Dick Starbuck after the Nantucket Starbuck whaling family.  And the coffee chain Starbucks was then named after this Starbuck.  It was not because Starbuck had any affinity for coffee.  Starbuck was in fact chosen after Pequod, the name of his ship, had been rejected by one of the co-founders of the chain.  In response Facebook spawned a "Starbuck is our name, not our coffee shop" group of Starbucks in Britain and America.

Select Starbuck Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for further stories and accounts:

Select Starbusk Names

Valentine and Obed Starbuck were early 19th century whalers from the Nantucket Starbuck family.
JoJo Starbuck from California won Olympic gold in pair figure skating in 1968 and 1972.

Select Starbucks Today
  • 1,300 in the UK (most numerous in Leicestershire)
  • 800 in America (most numerous in Vermont)

PS.  You might want to check out the surnames page on this website.  It covers surname genealogy in this and companion websites for more than 800 surnames.

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