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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016


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.

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The surname Duke was first found in Devon where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.

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.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Duke research. Another 115 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1604, 1671, 1640, 1632, 1705, 1679, 1658, 1711, 1563, 1590 and are included under the topic Early Duke History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 185 words (13 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Duke Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Duke family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 145 words (10 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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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
  • Richd Duke, who landed in Maryland in 1633
  • Edward Duke, who sailed to New England in 1634
  • Jo Duke, aged 20, arrived in America in 1635
  • Mary Duke, who arrived in Virginia in 1641


Duke Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • William Duke, who arrived in Barbados in 1758
  • John Duke, settled in Pennsylvania in 1772
  • Elizabeth Duke, who landed in Virginia in 1778
  • John Duke, who arrived in Barbados in 1779
  • J Duke, who landed in Barbados in 1783

Duke Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Saml Duke, aged 21, arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1804
  • A Duke, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850
  • Thomas Duke settled in Pennsylvania in 1853

Duke Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century


  • J W Duke, who arrived in St John, New Brunswick in 1907

Duke Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • George Duke arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Hooghly" in 1839
  • Sarah Duke arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Hooghly" in 1839
  • mary Ann Duke arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Hooghly" in 1839

Duke Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • George Duke landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1841

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  • 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)
  • 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
  • Vernon Duke (1903-1969), American composer

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  • 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.
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  1. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  2. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  3. Burke, Sir Bernard. Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry: Including American Families with British Ancestry. (2 Volumes). London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  4. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  5. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  6. 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).
  7. Crispin, M. Jackson and Leonce Mary. Falaise Roll Recording Prominent Companions of William Duke of Normandy at the Conquest of England. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  8. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  9. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  10. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  11. ...

The Duke Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Duke Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 29 March 2016 at 14:08.

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