Recorded as York and Yorke, this is an English surname. It is locational from the ancient city and county of York, the former capital of the North, whose origins pre-date the Roman occupation of 55 - 410 a.d. Locational names were given either to the local lord of the manor and his descendants or as easy indentification to people who migrated to other places or even other countries. The word "york" derives from the Ancient Greek word "eburos" meaning "yew tree". The Romans adopted the word and Latinized it to "Eboracum", and this is the first known recording for York in circa 150 a.d. When the Vikings captured the city eight hundred years later in 962 a.d. they adapted the name to their variant of "Yorvik", which later became York. The "modern" spelling of the city first appears as "Yeorc" in 1205, not long before the first surname. Recordings of the name include: Ernisius de Eboracum in the Pipe Rolls of Yorkshire for 1160; this is a return to the original Latin (Roman) form of one thousand years earlier; Agnes de York in the 1379 Poll Tax Rolls, whilst in 1557, Guylberte Yorke and Amye Bonde were married at St. Michael's Church, Cornhill, London. This was in the reign of Mary 1st of England, known as "Bloody Mary", 1554 - 1558. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John de York, which was dated 1324, in the "Coroner's Rolls of London". Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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