Yerkes Upstate
and Only Way Realty
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What's In A Name?


A Little History / Background

Why this Should Matter to You


We thought a little family history (and even some pronounciation help with our name) will provide a starting place for introducing ourselves to you and then we will follow up with why we belive that matters...


Let's get this out of the way first...  While the surname, "Yerkes", is not common, there are surprisngly more of us around than most people realize. However, that uncommonality means that when most people come across our name they are never quite sure how to pronounce it; and trust us, we have heard a wide variation with that six letter name.    

A common pronounciation is "Yer-Keys", which has always seemed strange to our branch of the Yerkes family since for example, how do you pronounce "peaches" or "matches"?    Others attempt to pronounce it as a plural form of y-e-r-k (with an "-s" instead of "-es"), but please, let's not go there.

The preferred way to pronounce "Yerkes" is, Yer'-kiss, (or Yer'-kess) with a hard emphasis on the first syllable -- almost (but not) like "your kiss" (which of course we've also heard it that way).

History / Background

We can currently trace the history of our Yerkes ancestry back to Europe in the 1500s.

Family Crest?  Online family crest and history sites claim we have a family crest with a motto (for some reason in French, which translates to "The end crowns the works") and an untold history, which we can claim and read about for a discounted price (free shipping for orders over $85!).  We haven't done that yet, but they told use that one of our ancesters had a family seat in Yorkshire as Lord of the Manor in 1066.  We haven't  spent the money to purchase the details, at least not yet.   

That same site also told us:

Belgian / German origin: The distinguished surname Yerkes is a patronymic surname created from a personal name, and meaning "son of George." The name comes ultimately from the Greek words "ge," meaning "earth," or "soil," and "ergein," meaning "to work or till," together meaning "farmer." Yerkes was used as a first name throughout Europe during the Middle Ages, it's popularity in part due to the legendary dragon-slaying fame of St. George.  It goes on to give a few interesting details and dates. 

This tends to line up with our recorded geneological records (dates and location, not the dragon-slaying part).

Regardless, our other ancestors gradually moved through different areas of Europe, with some eventually making it to America as immigrants in the 18th and 19th centuries.  Initially, they settled mainly in the Mid-Atlantic region and spread out from there.  We now have relatives probably in every state in America, with a majority concentrated in the Mid-Atlantic down through the South. 

We have a town named after us in Kentucky.  Just last year, the Hazard Herald [newspaper] reported they had a fire in the post office/convenience store -- arson is suspected as a video camera shows someone fire bombing the building; but fortunately, the Krypton Fire Dept. arrived on the scene in time to prevent complete catastrophe!

We also have an astronomical observatory at the University of Chicago with our surname, a law in psychcology shares the name; and our name is associated with a renowned national primate research center at Emory University in Atlanta.   (When we were kids growing up, one of the primates that was able to communicate with humans and appeared on TV had the same name as my sister.  We had some fun with that!)  There's even a Yerkes crater on the moon and an asteroid!  

A notorious tycoon shared our surname. He was a financier who played a major part in developing mass-transit systems in Chicago and London.  The events of his life served as a blueprint for the Theodore Dreiser' "Trilogy of Desire" novels, The Financier, The Titan and The Stoic, in which the financier was fictionalized as Frank Cowperwood.  There are also a couple biographies out with titles like, "Robber Barron" and "Railyway Tycoon". [Note: While we guess there is some 'family' pride in his accomplishments, the means by which he often achieved them left much to be desired... his lack of ethics and integrity does not come anywhere close to the high levels of ethics and integrety to which we subscribe and make every effort to attain.]

We claim a stuntman with our last name who is well known and respected in Hollywood and was involved with numerous blockbuster movies, such as "Return of the Jedi", "Ghostbusters", "Earthquake", "The Towering Inferno", "Back to the Future III", "Batman Forever", "Hook", "Honey I Shrunk the Kids", "Who Framed Roger Rabbit", and others.  If you watch the credits at the end of these movies, you'll see his name.

Members of our recent Yerkes family have been farmers, business owners, bankers, teachers, musicians, scientists, executives, politicians, salesmen, athletes, factory workers, theologians, healthcare professionals, social workers and more.  In short, we have the varied experiences of most families in the country.  The 'careers' that we believe to be the most significant though, we have in common: mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles.

We have close family relatives in NC (Charlotte), SC (Greevnille) and Georgia (Atlanta area).    Our family geneology is a proud mixture of genes, heritages and cultures and includes branches with different races.

Why This Should Matter to You.

Thank you for letting us be a little self-indulgent in sharing about "Yerkes".

We are not trying to say that our surname is any more special than yours.  We know that many of you have even more interesting ancestory and history associated with your surname.

This is primarily to make your aware that we are committed to, and have broad roots in, the area; but that we also bring with us a rich heritage and appreciation for, and understanding of, those coming in from other areas of the country and the world.

Remember: we are full-time South Carolina REALTORS®, dedicated to proving a full range of professional real estate services to serve YOUR needs.

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