This interesting and unusual surname, with variant spellings Kunkel, Kinkel and Gunkel, derives from the Germanic word "kunkel", itself coming from the Middle High German "kunkel", a spindle or distaff, ultimately from the late Latin "Conicula", a diminutive of "conus", cone or peg. The surname is therefore a metonymic occupational name for a spinner or a maker of spindles. The form "Kunkler", having the agent suffix -er, (one who does or works with), is particularly widespread in Switzerland, and a Coat of Arms granted to the Kunkler family of St. Gall, Geneva, is recorded heraldically in Rietstap's "Armorial General". It depicts two gold stars in chief, and a demi goat proper on a black shield. The Goat signifies one who is willing to work hard in order to attain a high position, and the star denotes honour and achievement in service of the state. On February 8th 1796 Christian Kunkler and Ursula Linder were married in Glottertal, Freiburg, Baden. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Barbara Kuenkele, (marriage to Johann Metzger), which was dated February 8th 1573, Lauffen, Neckarkreis, Wuertt, during the reign of Emperor Maximilian 11, "The Hapsburg Emperor", 1564 - 1576. 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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