This name is of English locational origin from a place in Essex thus called. Recorded variously as Wokendune in the Anglo Saxon Chronicle of 1067, as Wochaduna in the Domesday Book of 1086 and as Wokindon in the 1230 Pipe Rolls of that county, the first element is the genitive case of the Olde English pre 7th Century personal name "Wocca", plus "dun", a down or hill pasture, hence, "Woca's Pastures". The surname from this source is particularly well recorded in Church Registers of Essex and London from the mid 16th Century, (see below) under variant spellings Okenden, Okendon, Ockenden and Ockendon.Brydget Okenden was christened at East Hanningfield, Essex, in April 1557, and the marriage of Katheryn Ockenden to Thomas Selbed was recorded at St. Mary Somerset, London, on the 27th February 1586. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Margery Okenden married William Hauken, which was dated June 25th 1542 in East Hanningfield, Essex, during the reign of King Henry V111, known as "Bluff King Hal", 1509 - 1547. 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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