Recorded as Peterken and Peterkin, this is an Anglo-Scottish surname. It is a medieval diminutive of the given name Peter, itself coming from the Greek 'petros', meaning a rock. This name was extremely popular throughout Christian Europe in the Middle Ages, in the time of the religious revival, as it had been bestowed by Christ as a byname on the apostle Simon bar Jonah - "Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my church", (Matt. 16:18). The personal name, in its Latinized form of Petrus, appears in the Domesday Book of 1086, whilst Ralph Peter of Hertfordshire, is recorded in the Knight Templar rolls of 1195 and he was the first recorded bearer of the surname in England. The diminutive form of the surname first emerges in Scotland, and early recordings include Andrew Peterkin, who was admitted as burgess of Aberdeen in 1488 and John Peterkyne appears in the records of that city, dated 1537. Thomas Petirkyn was tenant of the bishop of Moray in 1565, and John Peterken was entered in "the Commissariat Record of Dunkels", in 1777. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Johannes Petirkyn. This was dated 1419 - in the book of the Thanes of Cawdor, during the reign of King James 1st, of Scotland 1406 - 1437. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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