Recorded as Carneck, Carnick, Carnock, Cornick, Cornock, Curnock, Kernock, Kernocke, and others, this is an English, sometimes Scottish from Galloway, and Cornish surname. It is residential and topographical and originally described a person who lived on or by a 'carne', that is to say a rocky place. The derivation is from the Celtic word carr, meaning a rock and a fusing with the Olde English and Gaelic word cnoc, the top of a hill. Topographical surnames were amongst the earliest created, since both natural and man made features in the landscape provided easily recognisable distinguishing names in the small country communities of the Middle Ages. The surname perhaps curiously, is very well recorded in the diocese of the city of London, not an area known for 'rocks', and also appears in surviving Cornish church registers from their begining in the early 17th century. Examples of the various recordings include those of Avise Kernocke and James Hawkyn who were married at Michaelston, Cornwall on October 26th 1669, Agnes, the daughter of John and Lydia Curnock, who was christened at St. Dunstan's in the East, Stepney, on May 14th 1679, whilst later on April 4th 1802, George and Sarah Cornick were christening witnesses at St Andrews Holborn. 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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