Recorded in several spellings as shown below, this is a German surname. It is of early medieval origin, and is either a variant of Helmkin, a metonymic occupational name for a maker of helmets, or as Helmke an early personal name. However spelt the name derives from "helm", meaning helmet, with varied suffix denoting kinsmanship or occupation. Spelling forms include include Helme, Helms (England), Helmel, Helm(e)cke, Helmke, Helmchen and Helmker (Germany, Switzerland and Austria). The name is first recorded in church registers of German states in the 16th century, and include examples such as Henrich Helmeken christened on June 29th 1600 at Laningen, Braunschweig and the marriage of Anneken Helmke and Cord Rosenberg on September 21st 1606 at Hannover Bothfeld. In England examples include Catherine, the daughter of Fedde and Winefred Helmken, christened on September 13th 1767 at the church of St. James, Garlickhithe, city of London . Perhaps the earliest church recording is that of Gurrin Helmke. This was dated February 6th 1596, a witness at Hannover Bothfeld, Hannover, Germany, during the reign of Rudolf 11nd of Hapsburg, the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, 1576 - 1612. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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