This famous surname recorded in several forms including Bock, Bockh, Bocke, Bockmann, Bockler, Pock and Boecke, is 13th century Old German. It has several possible meanings of which the most likely is that it is residential, and describes a person who lived by a beech wood, or possibly one who specialised in making products such as furniture out of beech. The second possibility is that in some cases it is a nickname for a male person who behaved like a "bock", otherwise a ram or billy goat! In the medieval period people were robust in their views, and they did not hesitate to supply sometimes very offensive nomenclature to other people. What is even more surprising is that these stuck, and that the recipients do not seem to have objected, and ultimately these nicknames became surnames in their own right. This is one of the earliest and most popular of German surnames, and one that has been recorded in other countries for many centuries. The earliest examples of the name recordings taken from authentic German charters of the medieval period include Ulrich Boch of Oberschwaben in the year 1241, and Walterus zuo dem Bock, the Spitalmeister (Hospital manager) of Schlettstadt in 1424. The first known recording of the surname in any spelling is probably that of Heinrich Boc of Ostrach, in the year 1209. This was during the reign of Emperor Otto 1V of the Holy Roman (German) Empire, 1198 - 1215.
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