Distribution of the Surname

The COCKERLINE surname seems to have a very limited distribution. Prior to the 1830's the surname seems to have firmly been rooted exclusively in Yorkshire, England, with only a few strays in Lincolnshire, Lancaster and London. We have evidence of several COCKERLINEs leaving Yorkshire between 1830 and 1860 and establishing themselves in either Canada or New Zealand. However, outside the British Isles, the COCKERLINE surname seems to have established itself only in North America. Up to the late 1980's, the name was limited to England, Canada and the United States.

Worldwide, I estimate that the COCKERLINE surname is limited to less than 350 individuals. In 1995, a worldwide search of telephone directories suggested that there might be approximately 330 individuals. In an effort to determine the actual number of COCKERLINEs in the world. I am hoping to gather the names and location of all people who bore the COCKERLINE surname in the year 2001. For a closer look at the results to date, see the 2001 worldwide census results.


Number of

Estimated # of
people per family

 Great Britain 41 3.49   143
 Canada 25  3.08  77
United States  35  3.08   108
 Germany 1 3.08   3

Without exception, all the COCKERLINE families outside Britain have descended from the COCKERLINEs of Yorkshire. Of the COCKERLINEs who emigrated to North America, all seem to have headed to Canada. Between 1830 and 1880 three families flourished and produced numerous offspring. But with the depression of the 1880's several individuals moved to the United States in search of better economic times. As a result, descendants of each of these families have since established the COCKERLINE family name in the United States. To the best of our knowledge, it appears that all of the present day COCKERLINEs in North America are descendants of one of these three families:

the family of John COCKERLINE & Mary JACKSON
. . who settled in Quebec, CANADA during the early 1830's;

the family of Matthew Bird COCKERLINE & Matilda ROSS
. . who settled in Ontario, CANADA during the late 1830's;

the family of William COCKERLINE & Hannah WILSON
. . who settled in Ontario, CANADA during the 1850's.

As to the origins of the surname, this remains a mystery. Spelling of COCKERLINE varies in the historical records. It has been noted as COCALINE, COCKALINE, COCKELINE, COCKERLEN, COCKERLONE, COCKLIN, COCKLINE, COCKLING and COCLIN. There are exceptionally few references to the COCKERLINE name before 1650, and fewer outside Yorkshire. This leads me to speculate that the COCKERLINE surname is possibly a dialectical corruption of an ancestral name such as COQUELIN. There is no evidence to support any theory about the origins of the name, but follow this link to get one professional researcher's thoughts on the origins of the COCKERLINE surname.