This very interesting surname recorded in the spellings of Dunkirk, and Dunkiss (English), and Duinkerk which may be Scottish, is locational. It would seem to originate from the French northern city except for two salient points. Firstly the Frencg city is spelt Dunquerque, and secondly there are, or at least there were, no less than five places in England called Dunkirk, and one in Scotland near Dalwhinne, and now called Duin. The English Dunkirks were found in the counties of Gloucester, Nottingham, Norfolk, Staffordshire and Kent, the latter being near Canterbury and closer to the French city than to London! Locational surnames are usually 'from' names. That is to say names given to people who left their original villages to move somewhere else. In this case this surname could originate from any of the five places, although we think the most likely is from the Kent village. What is perhaps surprising is that Dunquerque does not seem to have given rise to surnames in either France or Britain, although there are at least ten variations as a surname of Boulogne, the port just down the coast. These include the famous Anne Boleyn, whose ancestors came from Boulogne. The placename in England means 'the church on the hill (or down)', and examples of the surname recording in the surviving registers of the city of London include Edward Dunkirk, who was christened at St Johns Hackney, on August 9th 1713, Joseph Dunkiss christened at St Martins in the Field, Westminster, on July 3rd 1764, and Moses Dunkirk, christened at St Leonards Shoreditch, on August 7th 1781.
© Copyright: Name Origin Research 1980 - 2017