Recorded in many forms including Duce, Douce, Dowse, Douche (English), Douce, Ledoux, Douche, Doucet, Doucette, Doussain (France), Dolci, Dolcetti, Dolcini, Dolcino, Lo Dolce (Italy), and many others, this is a nickname surname of ancient Roman origins. It derives from the Latin word 'dolcis' meaning sweet or pleasant. Frequently used as a woman's personal name of endearment, it was first recorded as such in England in the 13th century, when Duze Rannulfi, appears in the Assize Court rolls of the county of Yorkshire in the year 1219.The first known recording of the surname is even earlier (see below), but this is probably because of a paucity of surviving early records, rather than a historical fact. Gilbert le Dus and Godfrey le Douz appear in the Subsidy Tax rolls of Sussex in the year 1296, whilst Walter Dous or Douce is recorded in the Subsidy Rolls of Worcestershire in 1327. The recordings from other European countries are rarely to be found before the 16th century, and therefore do not add to the knowledge on the origin of the surname. The first recorded spelling of the family name anywhere in the world is believed to be that of Hugo le Duz. This was was dated 1200 a.d., in the Cartulary of Oseney Abbey, Oxfordshire, during the reign of King John of England, 1199 - 1216. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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