The English language surname Hawkins originated in the 11th century in Kent, England. Its meaning comes from the word “hawking”, meaning “falconry”. The name itself, deriving from the Olde English pre 7th Century “Hafoc” meaning “Hawk”, is descriptive for one who possessed that bird’s ferocious instincts. The name, as a personal name without a surname is recorded in the spelling of “Havok” in the Domesday Book of 1086, compiled by William the Conqueror. In the spelling form as Hawkins, the name is a double diminutive or patronymic which translates as “the son(s) of the son (kin) of the Hawk.
Perhaps, the most famous of all Hawkins was Sir John Hawkins(1532 – 1595). He was an English naval commander and merchant, navigator, shipbuilder, privateer and slave trader. My own Hawkins family is rumored to be descendants of Sir John; this was confirmed by my grandfather Ira William Hawkins (1909-1986). With certainty, we can trace this lineage to John Hawkins(1605-1678) of Plymouth, Devon, England. He is the son of Sir Richard Hawkins, a son of Sir John.
The Hawkins family coat of arms., used from the time of Edward III (1327-1377), is silver with a black saltire on it. Five gold fleur-de-lies appear on the saltire. The crest is a gold stag on a green mound.
Dictionary of American Family Names ©2013, Oxford University Press