Cokayne, George Edward 1825-1911, genealogist, born in Russell Square, London, on 29 April 1825, was fourth son and youngest child (in a family of eight) of William Adams, Doctor of Law, of Thorpe, Surrey, advocate in Doctors' Commons, by his wife the Hon. Mary Anne (d. 1873), daughter of William Cockayne and niece and co-heiress of Borlase Cockayne, sixth and last Viscount Cullen. His mother belonged to the well-known family of Cokayne of Rushton Hall, Northamptonshire. On 15 Aug. 1873 he assumed the name and arms of Cokayne by royal warrant in accordance with his mother's testamentary directions. After private education owing to delicate health, he went to Oxford, matriculating from Exeter College on 6 June 1844. He graduated Bachelor of Arts in 1848 and proceeded M.A. in 1852. He was admitted a student of Lincoln's Inn on 16 Jan. 1850, and was called to the bar on 30 April 1853. Entering the Royal College of Heralds six years later, he held successively the offices of rouge dragon pursuivant-of-arms (1859-70) and Lancaster herald (1870-82). In his heraldic capacity he was attached to the garter missions to Portugal in 1865, to Russia in 1867, to Italy in 1868, to Spain in 1881, and to Saxony in 1882. Appointed Norroy king-of-arms in the latter year, Cokayne succeeded to the post of Clarenceux king-of-arms in 1894. He was an active member of the Society of Antiquaries, being elected fellow on 22 Feb. 1866. He died at his residence, Exeter House, Roehampton, on 6 Aug. 1911, and was buried at Putney Vale. On 2 Dec. 1856 he married Mary Dorothea, second daughter of George Henry Gibbs of Aldenham Park, Hertfordshire, and sister of Henry Hucks Gibbs (afterwards Lord Aldenham) [qv.]. He had issue eight children, of whom two sons and two daughters survived him. A portrait by Kay Robertson is at Exeter House, Roehampton.
Industrious and scholarly, Cokayne published G. E. C.'s Complete Peerage (8 vols. 1887-98; new edit. 1910), and G. E. C.'s Complete Baronetage (5 vols., Exeter, 1900-6). These works won him general recognition as a genealogist of the first authority. To this Dictionary he contributed a memoir of Sir Aston Cokayne (1608-1684).
The Times, 8 Aug. 1911
Foster, Men at the Bar
G. E. C.'s Complete Peerage, 1889, ii. 437
A. E. Cockayne, Cokayne Memoranda, 1873
Contributor: G. S. W. [Gabriel S. Woods]