Recorded as Kelch, Kelcher, Kelker, and Kelchner, this is a surname of Germanic origins. It is pre medieval and occupational, deriving from the Roman (Latin) word 'calix' meaning a chalice, and hence describing a maker of chalices. Surnames from occupations were amongst the earliest to be recorded, however they were not the first to become hereditary, this was usually an honour given to locational names, and especially thoise of the local chief or lord of the manor. Occupational surnames became hereditary when a son or sometimes a grandson, followed the father into the same line of business.In this case early examples of the surname recording taken from surviving rolls, registers and charters of Germany from about the 14th century include Fridrich Kelchner of of Deiblingen in the year 1314, Hans Kelk of Freudenstadt in 1372, and Hans Kelckher of Hamburg in 1447. Over the centuries surnames have continued to undergo change. These changes have continued upto and including the 20th century, given that spelling throughout the period has usually been erratic, and local dialects often very thick.
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