This unusual surname, recorded in German Church Registers from the mid 17th Century under the variant forms Urlichs and Urligs, is a Germanic variant of the Polish name Orlik, itself a diminutive of the Russian Orlov, a patronymic from the nickname "Oryol", "Eagle". Nicknames were originally given with reference to a variety of personal characteristics, such as physical attributes or peculiarities, mental and moral characteristics, and supposed resemblance to an animal's or bird's appearance or disposition; and the habitual use of nicknames gave rise to a sizeable group of surnames throughout Europe, and in Russia. In 1570, the birth of Lukyan Ivanovich, son of Ivan Orlov, was recorded in Lutkino, Russia. The Orlovs, a powerful Russian family, were close advisers to Catherine the Great and Nicholas 1. German surnames ending in "-ke, -i(s)ch", and "-usch" are frequently the result of Slavonic forms of given names and nicknames having been encapsulated as German surnames. On November 19th 1669, Guilhelmus Urlich and Anna Catharina Elisabeth de Voss were married at St. Jacobi, Coesfeld, Westfalen, and on November 22nd 1713, Hans Urlich married an Anna Schulze at Straupitz, Leubben Stadt, Brandenburg, Germany. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Danielis Urlichs, which was dated May 21st 1651, witness at the christening of his son, Wilhelmus, at Lohn, Rheinland, Germany, during the reign of Ferdinand 111, Habsburg Emperor, 1637 - 1657. 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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