Recorded in the spellings of Broke, de Broke, Brook, Brooke, Brookes, Brooker, Brooking, Brookman, Brooks (England, Scotland, Ireland), Brok, Broeck, Ten Broek, Van den Broek (Dutch, Flemish), Brook, Broker, Broek, von Brook (Germany) and others, this surname in its various spellings has to be described as "European". It has been recorded from the earliest times in Britain, The Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany, and if it has a definitive source it is probably that country. Wherever found it can be locational from places called Brook(e), or topographical and describe a person who lived by water of some sort. This may have been a waterfall, or a stream, but equally could have been a water meadow or lake which flooded in winter. Occupationally the name may have described a person who delivered fresh water in a container known as a brok or broc. In Germany the surname is sometimes preceded by the aristocratic "von", indicating ownership of an estate called Brook. In England the name as Brooke is widespread, but as Brook was originally specific to the West Riding of Yorkshire. In Scotland the name has been "resident" in Aberdeenshire since at least 1483, whilst in Ireland it is particularly associated with the province of Ulster. The surname is one of the earliest recorded anywhere in the world and early examples include: William de la Broke of the county of Surrey, England, in 1208, and Johan Broker of Kiel, Germany, in 1367. In Scotland Thomas Bruke was a burgess of Aberdeen in 1488. Later recordings include William Brook, of Rothwell, Yorkshire, in 1540, Johan Gerd Brook of Oerlinshausen in 1731, and Johann von Brook, originally of Bremen, recorded in Isensee, Hannover, Germany, on March 23rd 1827. The first known recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ralph Broc, which was dated 1119, in the Pipe Rolls of the town of Colchester, Essex, during the reign of King Henry 1st of England, known as "The Lion of Justice", 1100 - 1135.
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