This most interesting and unusual surname is of early medieval German origin, and is either a variant of "Helmkin", a metonymic occupational name for a maker of helmets, or from a German medieval personal name. This was composed of the same element "helm", helmet (Olde English, Middle English "helm"), plus the diminutive suffix "kin". Other surnames from this source, in the modern idiom, include Helme, Helms (England), and Helmel, Helm(e)cke, Helmchen and Helmker (Germany). The name is first recorded in Church Registers of German states in the late 16th Century (see below), while Hans, son of Henrich and Catharina Helmeken, was christened on June 29th 1600 at Laningen, Braunschweig (Germany). The marriage of Anneken Helmken and Cord Rosenberg took place on September 21st 1606 at Hannover Bothfeld, Hannover, and Ertmut Helmken married Georgiy Wein, on November 16th 1625 at Benern, Ostpreussen. Catherine, daughter of Fedde and Winefred Helmken, was christened on September 13th 1767 at the Church of St. James', Garlickhithe, London. Mary Ann Halmkin married William Guttridge on May 20th 1850 at St. George's, Gravesend, Kent. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Gurrin Helmke, which was dated February 6th 1596, a christening witness at Hannover Bothfeld, Hannover, Germany, during the reign of Rudolf 11, Holy Roman Emperor (Hapsburg) 1576 - 1612. 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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