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Meaning & Origins

One of the many French names of Germanic origin that were introduced into Britain by the Normans; it has since remained in continuous use. It is derived from the nearly synonymous elements hrōd ‘fame’ + berht ‘bright, famous’, and had a native Old English predecessor of similar form (Hreodbeorht), which was supplanted by the Norman name. Two dukes of Normandy in the 11th century bore the name: the father of William the Conqueror (sometimes identified with the legendary Robert the Devil), and his eldest son. It was borne also by three kings of Scotland, notably Robert the Bruce (1274–1329), who freed Scotland from English domination. The altered short form Bob is very common, but Hob and Dob, which were common in the Middle Ages and gave rise to surnames, are extinct. See also Rupert.
3rd in the U.S.
English: occupational name, from Middle English bakere, Old English bæcere, a derivative of bacan ‘to bake’. It may have been used for someone whose special task in the kitchen of a great house or castle was the baking of bread, but since most humbler households did their own baking in the Middle Ages, it may also have referred to the owner of a communal oven used by the whole village. The right to be in charge of this and exact money or loaves in return for its use was in many parts of the country a hereditary feudal privilege. Compare Miller. Less often the surname may have been acquired by someone noted for baking particularly fine bread or by a baker of pottery or bricks.
40th in the U.S.

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