This very unusual and interesting name is of medieval English origin and is a peculiarly Yorkshire nickname surname for someone thought to be clumsy and awkward. The name derives from the Yorkshire dialect term "gawk", used of a clumsy, simple person, with "Roger" used as a representative male personal name, although the original surname may have been bestowed on one "Roger" because of a particular incident that has not been recorded. An April Fool is an April "Gowk" in Yorkshire. The development of the surname includes Jon Gawkrycher, (1553, Yorkshire), and Daniel Corkroger (1685, ibid.). The modern surname can be found as Gaukroger, Gawkroge, Gaukrodge and Gawkrodger. Elizabeth Gaukroger was married to Edmund Wells in October, 1554 in Halifax, Yorkshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Rauffe Gawkeroger, which was dated 1539, in the "Registers of the Parish of Rothwell", Yorkshire, during the reign of King Henry V111, known as "Bluff King Hal", 1509 - 1547. 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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