This is a name of Prussian (German) origins, and is recorded under a number of spellings including Deppe, Deppen and Depke. As "Depke" it is also recorded heraldically, in Riestap's "Amorial General" for Europe, the Coat of Arms being a blue field charged with in base a Turkish crescent and in chief three knights' spurs, all gold. This is a blazon which implies victory over the infidel, and therefore a Crusader background, although this is not proven. The name is derived from the Germanic "depp", a nickname for somebody who played practical jokes, or who may have been a professional comedian. Such names were commonly associated with the early theatres, where actors took as their surnames, the parts for which they were best known. The recordings of the name include the following examples: Albert Wilhelm Depke, christened at Konitz Church, Westfalen, on May 19th 1861 and August Depke of Bromberg Stadt, Province of Posen, christened on April 18th 1862. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Amilia Elisabet Depke, which was dated January 1st 1781, christened at Oerlinghausen Evangelist Church, Province of Lippe, Germany, during the reign of Joseph 11, known as the "Holy Roman Emperor", 1765 - 1790. 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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