This interesting surname is of early medieval English origin, and is an example of that sizeable group of early European surnames that were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. The nicknames were given in the first instance with reference to a variety of characteristics, such as physical attributes or peculiarities, mental and moral characteristics, supposed resemblance to an animal's or bird's appearance or disposition, as well as to habits of dress and occupation. The derivation of the name is from the iddle English "duck, doke", duck, with the diminutive suffix "el", and would have been given to someone bearing some fancied resemblance to a duck, or to someone who loved the water. The surname is first recorded in the late 13th Century (see below). Richard le Dukel is listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex (1296). Recordings of the surname from English Church Registers include: the marriage of Katherine Duckells and Culbertus Crooke on August 6th 1616 at St. Martin in the Fields, Westminster, London; the marriage of Joshua Duckles and Abigail Thompson on March 25th 1715 at Adlingfleet, Yorkshire; the marriage of Ursula Duckels and Thomas Laverack on November 16th 1731 at Whitgift, Yorkshire; and the christening of Henrietta Ann, daughter of Abner and Henrietta Duckels, on October 6th 1822 at St. Anne, Soho, Westminster. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Dukel, which was dated 1296, in the "Subsidy Rolls of Sussex", 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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