This web page will serve as a resource for the descendants of John Henry Shawkey to track down family roots and as an opportunity to bring together this family that is spread out from coast to coast. Announcements and other information can be posted here for free as long as it is in the best interest for the family. My e-mail address is listed below if you have something you would like to contribute.
The name Shawkey is an Anglicized version of the name Schaake. The proper pronunciation of the name in German is "Shaa-ka"; however, Americans tend to translate the "ke" ending as "key" and hence our ancestors choose the spelling Shawkey.
Both Schaak and Schaake (as well as Schack, Schake, Schacke and Schaack) trace their origins back to Scacca of Bardowick (circa 1152). The name Scacca is an ancient Saxon name which means "the Shaker" or someone who makes people tremble. It is the root word for the English verb "to shake." The fact that the name appeared among early Saxon invaders in England attests to its longevity. The progeny of Scacca of Bardowick adopted his name as their family name. His descendants, who served the Dukes of Lüneburg-Braunschweig, gradually changed the spelling from Latin Scacca to Scacke (1200s) and then Schacke (1300s). In some areas where the inhabitants spoke Low German the name was soften by changing the A to a long A, hence the double A, and dropping the c before k, hence the Schaak and Schaake spellings.
In 1680, our ancestors used both Schack and Schacke. Their name gradually changed first to Schaack and Schaacke, and finally to Schaake when they settled in Schönau in Hesse Kassel (a Low German speaking community) in 1750.
The Shawkey Family Reunion took place July 2-4, 1999 at the Holiday Inn in Oil City, PA. About 60 descendants of John Henry Shawkey were in attendance. Most arrived Friday and attended an informal reception where family members shared photographs and history. Saturday night was the banquet and family photographs were taken.
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