This interesting name has two possible origins, the first of which is derived from the Middle English 'duk(e)', duke, also found as 'douk, duc, doke', and developed from the Old French 'duc', in the sense of the leader of an army, captain, derived from the Latin 'dux, ducis', leader. This surname would have been acquired as a nickname for a 'leader', or for someone who acted as if he were one, or it may have been an occupational surname for someone employed in a ducal household. The second possible origin of the modern surname is from the personal name 'Duke', a short form of 'Marmaduke', which is a given name of Irish origin thought to derive from the Gaelic 'mael Maedoc', devotee of Maedoc, a personal name borne by various early Irish saints. The patronymic form of the modern surname is 'Dukes', the 's' being a shortened form of 'son (of)'. One John Duke was an early emigrant to America, leaving London in the 'Elizabeth' in April 1635, bound for New England. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Herbert le Duc, which was dated 1185, Records of the Templars in England (Shropshire), during the reign of King Henry 11, 'The Builder of Churches', 1154-1189. 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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