English: habitational name from the city of York in northern England, or perhaps in some cases a regional name from the county of Yorkshire. The surname is now widespread throughout England. Originally, the city bore the British name Eburacum, which probably meant ‘yewtree place’. This was altered by folk etymology into Old English Eoforwīc (from the elements eofor ‘wild boar’ + wīc ‘outlying settlement’). This name was taken over by Scandinavian settlers in the area, who altered it back to opacity in the form Iorvík and eventually Iork, in which form it finally settled by the 13th century. The surname has also been adopted by Jews as an Americanized form of various like-sounding Jewish surnames.
Dictionary of American Family Names © Patrick Hanks 2003, 2006.