This very uncommon and interesting surname is ultimately believed to be of medieval Germanic origin, and an occupational name for someone employed by an overlord (in the feudal system) to collect weekly dues from the vassals or tenant farmers maintained by that lord. The feudal system was the name given to the legal and social structure that evolved in Western Europe in the 8th and 9th Centuries, in which vassals or bondsmen were protected and maintained by their lord in return for military, and other services. In the Middle Ages, feudal obligations became increasingly converted to monetary payments, and hence the need for a tax-collector. The derivation, in this instance, is from the Middle High German "wuche, woche", week, implying a weekly exaction of moneys by the "Wuchner" or "Wochner" (see below). The surname gradually took the forms: Wuche, Wucke, Wocke and Wock. On May 5th 1591, Dorothea Wock and Matz Guenther were married at Hierschfeld, Zwickau, Sachsen, Germany. The name is variously spelt: Wock, Wook(e)s, Wuck, Wox and Woaks in English Church Registers, the final "s" indicating the patronymic. Recordings include: Richardus Wookes, christened at Wedmore, Somerset, on September 26th 1599, and Mary Woaks, christened at St. Botolph's, Bishopsgate, London, on June 4th 1692. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Klaus Brun Wuchner, which was dated 1525, in "Medieval Records of Wurtt", Germany, during the reign of Charles V, Habsburg Emperor, 1519 - 1558. 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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