Historical Information

Variations on the Surname "Shuk"

The surnames derived from the basic phonetic root "shuk" can be generated by the following formula. The first three components are required; the last "e" is optional. The formula yields 108 different surnames. 42 are found in the Family Finder Index to Broderbund's World Family Tree.

{sch / sh} + {au / eu / o / oa / oe / oo / ou / u / ue} + {ch / ck / k} + {e}

The 42 surnames in the Family Finder Index, Foreign location, U.S. location, earliest year recorded.

sch  schau   schauch    OH, NY                                       1840  
             schauck    NJ, NY, PA                                   1810  
     scheu   scheuch    CO, OH                                       1880  
             scheuck    NJ, NY, MN, OH                               1810  
             scheuk     NJ, NY, PA                                   1840  
     scho    schoch     Switz, Germany, Russia, PA, NJ, OH, IL, MI   1700's   
             schock     PA, VA, MD, NY, OH, NC, IL, IN               1700's  
             schocke    OH, IN, IA, MN, TX                           1860  
             schok      NY, IL                                       1850  
             schoke     NY, OH, IL                                   1860  
     schoa   schoach    NY, PA                                       1830  
             schoak     PA, OH                                       1840  
     schoe   schoeck    IL, IA                                       1850  
     schoo   schooch    PA, OH, IL, IA                               1800  
             schoock    NY, OH, IA                                   1870  
     schou   schouck    PA, NJ, IN                                   1790  
             schouk     PA, NY, IL, CA                               1850  
     schu    schuch     Germany, PA, NY, KY, OH, IN, IL, TX          1600's  
             schuck     Germany, PA, IN, VA, OH, OH, IL, KS, MN      1800  
             schuk      NY, OH, TX                                   1850  
     schue   schuech    PA, MD                                       1840  
             schueck    PA, NY, WI                                   1840  
sh   shau    shauch     PA, MD, OH                                   1830  
             shauck     PA, MD, OH                                   1800  
     sheu    sheuk      PA, MT                                       1850  
     sho     shoch      PA, OH, IN                                   1700's  
             shock      PA, NJ, OH, WV, KY, TN, NC, IL, IN, etc.     1700's    
             shocke     NJ, IN, NC                                   1830  
             shok       PA, OH, NC, TN, AL, TX                       1830  
             shoke      PA, NY, OH, IL, NC, LA                       1810  
     shoa    shoak      PA, AR                                       1830  
     shoe    shoeck     PA, KS                                       1840  
     shoo    shoock     PA, OH, MO, TX, MN                           1810  
             shook      PA, MD, VA, WV, OH, IL, IA, TN, TX, NE, etc. 1700's  
             shooke     PA, MD, OH, IN                               1800  
     shou    shouch     PA, OH, IL                                   1800  
             shouck     NY, PA, MD, OH, IN                           1700's  
     shu     shuch      PA, NY, OH, MD, KY, IN, AR, MS, TX           1850  
             shuck      PA, MD, WV, OH, KY, IN, IL, NE, KS, etc.     1800  
             shucke     IA                                           1850  
             shuk       PA, NJ, OH, NC, IN, IL, ID                   1700's  
     shue    shueck     PA                                           1810  

Other variations that can be seen in old records include Schu, Schue, Schuh, Schug, Scheck, Schough, etc. Another American origin is the evolution of the "Van Schaick" surname toward Schack, Shake, Shick, and some of the above surnames.


Origins and Evolution of these Surnames

Some conclusions can be tentatively drawn from the above chart of surname variations, assisted by historical information about cultural and religious events in Europe. First, the earliest versions are "Schuch/ck" and "Schoch." Both have European origins in medieval Germany. The Swiss variation is "Schoch," and the Netherlands variations are "Schook" or "Schoock."

Numerous explanations of the origin of "Schuch" have been offered. For example, Hammond's "What's in a Name?" offers the root "Scouh" which is Old German for shoemaker. The "Encyclopedia of Family Names" by Robb and Chesler gives the root "Cak" meaning expectation. The "Riestrap Armorial General" includes a coat-of-arms for "Shook" and explains that the name is Teutonic for "man."

The most common variation in the United States today is by far "Shook." According to the Social Security Administration, 23,022 social security numbers have been issued from 1936 to 1984 to people of the surname "Shook." "The Encyclopedia of Family Names" uses such SSA data to rank the top 5000 most common surnames in the U.S. "Shook" ranks 1970 out of 5000. No other variation ranks in the top 5000.

Religious Doctrines

The Schuchs of Europe would have been divided by religious lines during the Protestant Revolution (1519-1640). Some undoubtedly remained Catholic in the southern and western areas of Germany. Others became Lutherans in the northern and eastern parts of Germany, including the Palatinate/Baden/Wurtenberg area. Some Schuchs became Calvinists of the Reformed Church; many of them moved to Switzerland in the 1500's and 1600's. Those who became Anabaptists suffered the most religious persecution, since they were often caught between very hostile Catholic, Lutheran, and Calvinist forces. They fled first to Switzerland in the mid 1500's, to Holland in the late 1500's, and to Russia in the 1600's. The Anabaptists thus emerged into four distinct groups. First, the Anabaptists under the leadership of Menno Simons found a haven in Holland, and these "Mennonites" grew in numbers, especially after Holland granted them toleration in 1577. They in turn gradually spread back into Germany and Switzerland. Second, German Mennonites found Russia quite tolerant in 1600's and 1700's. Third, in the 1680's a Swiss Mennonite, Jacob Amman, broke away and founded the Amish. Fourth, in 1708 a wave of religious pietism climaxed in the Palatinate as Anabaptists founded the German Baptist Brethren.

Both Calvinists and Lutherans reject Catholicism's views on salvation by faith and works and the seven sacraments. Lutherans retained infant baptism, the belief in human free will, and universal salvation. The Lutheran and Reformed churches hold that only through God's grace can salvation be granted. Calvinists also retained infant baptism but rejected free-will, holding that the few "elected" by God to be predestined for salvation should form presbyterian churches. Calvinists in England and Scotland did refer to themselves as "Presbyterians" and later emigrated to Massachusetts. The Anabaptists believe in universal salvation but reject all sacraments, while retaining some for their purely "symbolic" use. They reject any form of infant baptism however; only baptized adults may join the church. While the other protestant denominations sought deep links between church and government, some to the point of complete unity, Anabaptists reject any involvement with political affairs. They refuse to take oaths, serve as a soldier, or hold political office (hence they refuse to serve on juries). Anabaptists in England were called simply "Baptists" and they were also heavily persecuted there. When English Baptists came to America, especially Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, they were still called Baptists. In Colonial history and genealogy, Baptists should not be confused with Anabaptists. Even though they shared many fundamental religious beliefs, especially adult baptism, Baptists were English while Anabaptists were German, Dutch, or Swiss.

The doctrinal distinctions between sects of Anabaptists are fairly minor. Mennonites use "shunning" to correct members' behavior and rarely use the strict "ban" to completely exclude them from Mennonite society. The Amish stressed the ban, emphasize the complete withdrawal from the secular world, and retain old Swiss customs and simple technologies. The German Baptist Brethren are quite similar to Mennonites. Their method of adult baptism involves the complete immersion of the person three times (for the Trinity); hence they acquired the name "Dunkers."

These doctrinal differences can assist genealogical research. For example, the study of records of baptisms and marriages is very relevant. If a baptism or marriage is recorded by a church in a "parish," the event is in Lutheran or Catholic church. Anabaptist churches will record baptisms as the joining of new adult members. German Baptist Brethren kept very few records of any baptisms at all. Anabaptists may not appear on Allegience lists recording their entry into America or later Allegience colonial records. If they do appear, they will be "non-jurors," that is, those who will not swear oaths. Unless a person would swear on the Bible to "tell the whole truth," that person could not give legal testimony, serve on a jury, or hold political office. These basic democratic rights were usually not missed by Anabaptists, since most came to America not just to escape religious persecution but also to evade any entanglement with government, which they typically viewed as sinfully corrupt. Another important doctrinal difference is the Anabaptists' general unwillingness to serve as a soldier or even as a member of a temporary militia. Their pacifism and dislike of government, however, had to often bend to the necessities of frontier existence. When the Indians attacked, when the French and Indian War flamed up, and when the American Revolution was underway, some Anabaptists either served in an army or militia, and many others at least quartered soldiers or gave food and supplies.

Geneaologists studying first and second generation German families in America have noted that 1) a person will typically marry a member of the same religious sect, and 2) families which lived near each other in Europe tended to have intermarried while in Europe, tended to emigrated together, and continued to live near each other and intermarry in the colonies.


Living in America

In 1683 the first permanent German colony was established at Germantown, north of Philadelphia, PA. Mennonites, English Quakers, Amish, Lutherans, and later, Germen Brethren, started from the Philadelphia area and spread out across nearby counties. Berks, Northumberland, and Lancaster counties were heavily German by the 1750's. The Mennonites, Amish, and German Baptists would all be called "Brethren," as the original movement of Anabaptists referred to themselves. They also all were called Pennsylvania Dutch; Dutch is a corruption of "Deutch" which refers to Deutchland, or Germany. The Holland Dutch settled primarily in New York, and there Mennonites, Lutherans, and Calvinists established churches that were called Baptist, Lutheran, and Reformed churches, respectively. After the start of the Palatinate emigration in 1709 to New York, the label "Palatinate" was often indiscriminately applied to any German, Dutch, or Swiss emigrant. Captains' lists of passengers arriving in Philadelphia, for example, often describe a cargo of "Palatinates" but no such origin can thereby be assumed. Swiss, French, German, and Dutch emigrants all first went to Rotterdam, to be picked up in English ships for the voyage. Sometimes a ship list will more carefully specify the passengers' homelands; "from Wirtemberg" is a common example.

Three Schuch families were part of the Palatinate emigration of 1709 to Livingston Manor, NY. Interestingly, two family heads later died there; most of the Palatinates had instead rebelled against English demands and headed either up the Hudson and Mohawk river valleys, or south into Pennsylvania. Another Schuch family is recorded living in the New York City area after 1737. All three families have ambiguous religious affiliations. For example, Johannes Schuch and his family were Palatinate Catholics from the Hachenburg area who came to Livingston Manor in 1709. His eldest son, Martinus, had four children baptized at Dutch Reformed churches and two baptized at Lutheran churches. Later, he, his wife, and one of his sisters joined a Lutheran church. Martinus's son Wilhelm also had his children baptized at Reformed and Lutheran churches.

Germans also were early colonizers of southern Virginia and the Carolinas, Maine, and Nova Scotia. However, I am not aware of any Schucks, Schocks, etc., who started their new lives on this continent in these areas.


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