This interesting surname is of early medieval English origin, and is a pet name meaning "dear little one". The name derives from the Middle English personal name "Dere", from the Olde English pre 7th Century "Deora", in part a short form of various compound names, with the first element "deor", dear, a byname meaning "Beloved", and the diminutive suffix "-kin". "Derkin" is recorded as a personal name in the Hundred Rolls of Cambridgeshire (1273). Other examples of this are Watkin for Walter, and Tompkin for Thomas. The surname is first recorded in the latter half of the 13th Century (see below). Robertus Dorkyn and Henricus Derkyn are listed in the 1379 Poll Tax Returns of Yorkshire. In the modern idiom the surname can be found as Derkin, Dearkin and Darkin. Recordings of the surname from London Church Registers include: the christening of William Darkin on March 15th 1576, at St. John's, Hackney; the christening of Abraham Darking at St. Mary at Hill, on May 29th 1593; and the marriage of Barbara Darkin and Christopher Norwod on June 10th 1605, at St. Mary Magdelene, Bermondsey. Robert Darkin, an early settler to the New World, was Commander of the ship "Brother's Aduenture", which sailed from the Barbados to New York in July 1679. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ralph Derkin, which was dated 1273, in the "Hundred Rolls of Cambridgeshire", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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