Shelakar, born about 1616 in Loddington, Leicestershire, is the
earliest known person with the name. It is likely that all modern
Shellaker and Shillaker families are descended from him. Early families
spread along a line drawn roughly between Leicester and Peterborough in
the East Midlands of England. The origin of the name is the subject of
much debate: family anecdotes suggest a Dutch origin, navvies who came
from Holland to dig dykes to drain the fenland.
the 1841 census, there were three Shillaker families in Rutland and
five in and around Market Deeping, Lincolnshire, in two distinct
branches. There were five Shellaker families in Leicestershire and
Rutland, and two who had moved from that area to London. By 1901
families of both names had spread widely around central and southern
England. In the early twentieth century a Shillaker family moved to
Canada and one to Australia. We estimate that there are about 10
Shellakers and 150 Shillakers living today.
have traditionally been farmers and shopkeepers. In 1881 there were
three substantial farmers, a grocer, a baker and draper in the Market
Deeping area alone. The most famous Shillaker was James Frederick, who
was elected a Labour MP in 1929.
The Shillaker One-Name Study
This project aims to collect as much information as possible about all
Shillakers and Shellakers who have ever lived. Take a look at the Genealogy
page to see what has been done so far. If you are a family member or you think you may be related to us, go to the Join Us
page and become a member: you will be able to see much more.