This interesting surname is of Huguenot origin, from the Flanders-Netherlands, and is believed to derive from the Greek "helix", curved, round. The surname may therefore have been a topographical name for someone who lived near a rounded place, for example, a hill. Topographical names were some of the earliest names to be created, as topographical features, whether natural or man-made, provided obvious and convenient means of dentification. The surname may also have been a nickname for a rotund person. The creation of surnames from nicknames was a common practice in the Middle Ages, and many modern-day surnames derive from medieval nicknames, referring to personal characteristics. During the mid to late 17th Century thousands of French Huguenots fled to England and other countries, to escape religious persecution on the Continent, especially after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes by Louis X1V in 1685. The surname can also be found as Helix, Healks and Hellikes. Recordings of the surname from English Church Registers include; the christening of Rebeccah, daughter of John and Sarah Helks, on May 24th 1736 at St. Aske's, Hoxton, London; the christening of Mary Ann, daughter of Solomon and Elizabeth Helks, on January 22nd 1781 at St. Martin in the Fields, Westminster; and the marriage of Mary Helks and Charles Smith on December 13th 1810 at Kemerton, Gloucestershire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Philippe Helix, which was dated November 2nd 1708, witness at a christening at West Street French Huguenot Church, Westminster, London, during the reign of Queen Anne, known as "The Last Stuart Monarch", 1702 - 1714. 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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