Recorded in a variety of spellings including Dorken, Dorkens, Dorkin, Dorkins, Dorking and Dorkings, this is an English locational surname. It originates from the town of Dorking in the county of Surrey, although it is just possible that in some cases it may originate from Dorcan, a rare personal name of the pre 7th century. The town was first recorded in the famous Domesday Book of 1086 in the spelling of "Dorchinges", which translates as "The people or settlement on the dorce". The word dorce translates as "bright river", and the personal name Dorcan may well mean the same. Like most locational surnames this is a "from" name. That is to say that the original nameholders were given the name after they left Dorking and moved elsewhere. According to the surviving registers "elsewhere" was probably the city of London, whose lights, although they were not physically very bright in the 17th century, still attracted those seeking fame and fortune. It is perhaps not surprising that this surname is recorded in London, before appearing in its "home" county. Examples of the early recordings taken from surviving church registers of the diocese of Greater London include those of Elizabeth Dorkin, who was christened at the church of All Hallows the Less, London Wall, on August 13th 1615, John Dorking, who married Amy Bright at the village of Send and Ripley, in the county of Surrey, on August 9th 1700, and William Dorken, a christening witness at St Botolphs Bishopgate, in the city of London, on September 18th 1737. The first known recording in any spelling may be that of William Dorkin, at the church of St Margaret's, Westminster, on July 20th 1567.
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