Duke History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Duke is part of the ancient legacy of the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. Duke was a name used for a person who behaved in a regal or noble manner, like a Duke. The surname Duke is derived from the various Old English words duc, duk, duke, douc, and doke, which all came from the Old French word duc. This ultimately came from the Latin word dux, which means leader, and is a derivative of the verb ducere, which means to lead. Undoubtedly, this was often a nickname, since many captains or leaders of military forces were titled landholders who would have derived their surnames from their estates. Nevertheless, it may have also been applied as an occupational name to a military leader or to someone employed in a ducal household.

Early Origins of the Duke family

The surname Duke was first found in Devon having descended from Osmond le Duc, Alexander and Robert le Duke who were listed in the Magni Rotuli Scaccarii Normanniae 1180-98. [1] Roger le Duke was Lord Mayor of London from 1227 to 1230.

"Duke was the name of an old influential Sussex family dating back to the reign of Henry VI.. There are also a few of the name in Dorset. Duke is also a widely - spread name amongst the gentry of the south of England, many of the families being connected and bearing the same arms. From the Dukes of Power Hayes and Otterton, Devon, sprang the Dukes of Wiltshire. " [2]

The Duke baronets are now both extinct but Sir Edward Duke, 1st Baronet (c.1604-1670) was the first Duke of Benhall, Suffolk (1661) and Sir James Duke, 1st Baronet (1792-1873), was Duke of London (1849.)

Early History of the Duke family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Duke research. Another 58 words (4 lines of text) covering the years 1604, 1671, 1640, 1632, 1705, 1679, 1563, 1590, 1658, 1711, 1670 and are included under the topic Early Duke History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Duke Spelling Variations

Until the dictionary, an invention of only the last few hundred years, the English language lacked any comprehensive system of spelling rules. Consequently, spelling variations in names are frequently found in early Anglo-Saxon and later Anglo-Norman documents. One person's name was often spelled several different ways over a lifetime. The recorded variations of Duke include Duke, Dukes, Dook, Dooke, Dooks, Dookes and others.

Early Notables of the Duke family (pre 1700)

Notables of the family at this time include Sir Edward Duke, 1st Baronet (c.1604-1671), an English politician who sat in the House of Commons of England in 1640; and his son, Sir John Duke, 2nd Baronet (1632-1705), an English politician, Member of Parliament for Orford in 1679; and Edmund Duke (1563-1590), English Roman Catholic priest and martyr who was found in the presence of Richard...
Another 64 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Duke Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Duke family to Ireland

Some of the Duke family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 79 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Duke migration to the United States +

Thousands of English families boarded ships sailing to the New World in the hope of escaping the unrest found in England at this time. Although the search for opportunity and freedom from persecution abroad took the lives of many because of the cramped conditions and unsanitary nature of the vessels, the opportunity perceived in the growing colonies of North America beckoned. Many of the settlers who survived the journey went on to make important contributions to the transplanted cultures of their adopted countries. The Duke were among these contributors, for they have been located in early North American records:

Duke Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Richard Duke, who landed in Maryland in 1633 [3]
  • Edward Duke, who sailed to New England in 1634
  • Jo Duke, aged 20, who arrived in America in 1635 [3]
  • Mary Duke, who arrived in Virginia in 1641 [3]
  • George Duke, who sailed to Virginia in 1648
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Duke Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • William Duke, who arrived in Barbados in 1758 [3]
  • John Duke, settled in Pennsylvania in 1772
  • Elizabeth Duke, who landed in Virginia in 1778 [3]
  • John Duke, who arrived in Barbados in 1779 [3]
  • J Duke, who landed in Barbados in 1783 [3]
Duke Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Samuel Duke, aged 21, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1804 [3]
  • James Duke, aged 32, who landed in New York in 1812 [3]
  • A Duke, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850 [3]
  • Thomas Duke, who settled in Pennsylvania in 1853

Canada Duke migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Duke Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
Duke Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century
  • J W Duke, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1907

Australia Duke migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Duke Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • George Duke, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Hooghly" in 1839 [5]
  • Sarah Duke, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Hooghly" in 1839 [5]
  • mary Ann Duke, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Hooghly" in 1839 [5]

New Zealand Duke migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Duke Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • George Duke, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1841
  • Mr. W.G. Duke, Australian settler travelling from Sydney, Australia aboard the ship "Bright Planet" arriving in Wellington, New Zealand on 11th June 1842 [6]
  • Mr. C. Duke, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Palmyra" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 19th February 1858 [7]
  • Mrs. Duke, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Palmyra" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 19th February 1858 [7]
  • Child Duke, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Palmyra" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 19th February 1858 [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Duke (post 1700) +

  • Wayne Duke (1928-2017), American collegiate sports executive, commissioner of the Big Eight Conference from 1963 to 1971
  • Anne Marie "Patty" Duke (1946-2016), American actress who won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress at the age of 16, ranked #40 on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Stars of All Time
  • Robin Chandler Duke (1923-2016), American socialite, women's rights advocate and diplomat, United States Ambassador to Norway (2000-2001)
  • James Henry "Red" Duke Jr. (1928-2015), American trauma surgeon and professor at The University of Texas Health Science Center and the Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center, perhaps best remembered for his nationally syndicated television spot called "Dr. Red Duke's Health Reports" which ran for 15 years
  • Mike Duke (b. 1950), American businessman, President, Chief Executive Officer of Wal-Mart
  • Brigadier-General James Thomas Duke (1893-1970), American Commanding General Charleston Port of Embarkation (1942-1945) [8]
  • Ken Duke (b. 1969), American PGA golfer
  • John Woods Duke (1899-1984), American composer and pianist
  • James Buchanan Duke (1856-1925), American tobacco and electric power industrialist, eponym of Duke University
  • Charles Moss Duke Jr. (b. 1935), former NASA Astronaut with 265 hours in space [9]
  • ... (Another 8 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Air New Zealand Flight 901
  • Mr. Athol David Duke (1961-1979), New Zealander passenger, from Epsom, Auckland, New Zealand aboard the Air New Zealand Flight 901 for an Antarctic sightseeing flight when it flew into Mount Erebus; he died in the crash [10]
USS Arizona
  • Mr. Robert Edward Duke, American Chief Commissary Steward Assigned from California, USA working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he died in the sinking [11]


Suggested Readings for the name Duke +

  • 900 "The Dukes of Durham, 1865-1929" by Robert Franklin Durden, "The Henning and Duke Families of Louisville, Kentucky: Including Genealogical Material" by Charles P. Stanton.

  1. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  2. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  3. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  4. ^ Charbonneau, André, and Doris Drolet-Dubé. A Register of Deceased Persons at Sea and on Grosse Île in 1847. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, 1997. ISBN: 0-660-198/1-1997E (p. 26)
  5. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) HOOGHLY 1839. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1839Hooghly.htm
  6. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  7. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  8. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2012, January 24) James Duke. Retrieved from http://generals.dk/general/Duke/James_Thomas/USA.html
  9. ^ NASA Astronauts Homepage. (Retrieved 2010, September 27) Charles Duke. Retrieved from http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/duke-cm.html
  10. ^ Mount Erebus, Memorial, Roll of Remembrance (Retrieved 2018, February 21st). Retrieved from http://www.erebus.co.nz/memorialandawards/rollofremembrance.aspx
  11. ^ Pearl Harbour: USS Arizona Casualties List Pearl Harbour December 7, 1941. (Retrieved 2018, July 31st). Retrieved from http://pearl-harbor.com/arizona/casualtylist.html


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