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, 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 below is from this source. 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 Old English pre 7th Century 'becca', matlock. One Henry Beck was an early emigrant to America, leaving London on the 'Blessing' in July 1635 bound for New England. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter Bec, which was dated 1086, The Domesday Book, Buckinghamshire, during the reign of King William 1, '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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