This interesting name has a number of possible origins, all of which are equally likely to be the source for the modern surname. Firstly, it may be a Northern topographical surname for someone who lived beside a stream or brook, derived from the Northern Middle English "bekke", stream, originally from the Old Norse "bekkr". Secondly, it may be of Norman (French) locational origin, deriving from any of the various places in Northern France named with the Old Norman French word "bec", stream, such as Bec Hellouin in the province of Eure; the first recordings of the surname is from this source (see below). Thirdly, the name may derive from a medieval English nickname for someone with a prominent nose, from the Middle English "beke", beak of a bird, from the Old French "bec". Finally, Beck as a surname may be a metonymic occupational name for a maker, seller or user of a matlock or pickaxe, derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century "becca", matlock. An early settler in the New World Colonies was Henry Beck, who embarked from the Port of London on the "Blessing" in July 1635, bound for New England. The Coat of Arms most associated with the name is described thus: "Or (gold), two bars dancettee sable (black) surmounted by the fasces in pale proper a chief azure (blue) thereon three annulets argent (silver)". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter Bec, which was dated 1086, in the Domesday Book of Buckinghamshire, during the reign of King William 1, known as "The Conqueror", 1066 - 1087. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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