This is a Polish and Czech surname which is surprisingly well recorded in the USA, but hardly at all in the British Isles. It is of medieval origins, and was in the 14th century or earlier a descriptive nickname for a person who was given to wearing very bright clothes. It derives from the word "dudek," originally used generically for such colourful birds as the jay, magpie, or hooper, with their attractive plumage. Nicknames of seven centuries ago may well have had a totally different meaning to that of today, and one has to be very careful about making modern assumptions. Indeed only by being actually present when a name was "earned," could the true intention be recorded. This rarely if ever happened. What de do know is that nickname surnames are one of the largest groups in the surname listing, representing over 15% of all modern surnames, and those which were rather dodgy have diappeared over the centuries. Examples of this surname taken from surviving church registers of Poland include Mathian Dudek at Lodz in the province of Lodzkiego, on February 3rd 1805, and Ernst Dudek and his wife Anna, at Tabor Wielki, Poznanskiego, on April 13th 1834.
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