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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2015

Where did the German Dunker family come from? What is the German Dunker family crest and coat of arms? When did the Dunker family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Dunker family history?

The name Dunker comes from the Rhineland, an ancient region of Germany. In pre-medieval times, the Germans used only one name, but later they were forced by a growing population to adopt hereditary surnames; so as to remain distinct from the many others of the same first name. Local names were often chosen. They originally indicated land ownership, and frequently carried the prefix von, meaning "of" or "from," which is often taken as an indication of aristocratic lineage. Dunker was a name for some one lived near a swamp. Ancient records reveal the name Dunker is derived from the Old German word dunk, which referred to a small hill in a swampy area. The surname Dunker is also of nickname origin and derived from the word dunck, or dunkel which means dark. One must assume that the original bearers of the surname Dunker had dark physical features.

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Many cultural groups lived in the German states in medieval times. Each had its own dialect and traditions, and unique variations of popular names. Low German, which is similar to contemporary Dutch, was spoken in Westphalia. German names are characterized by additions such as regional suffixes and phrases that tell something about the origin or background of its original bearer. Further contributing to the variation in German names was the fact that there were no spelling rules in medieval times: scribes recorded names according to their sound. The recorded spelling variations of Dunker include Dunkel, Dunckel, Dunkelman, Dunkelmann, Dunkell, Dunkle, Dunker and many more.

First found in the Rhineland, where the name was closely identified in early mediaeval times with the feudal society which would become prominent throughout European history. The name would later emerge as a noble family with great influence, having many distinguished branches, and become noted for its involvement in social, economic and political affairs. The earliest individual member of this family to be mentioned in chronicles was Georg Dunckel who lived in Cologne on the Rhine river around 1186.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Dunker research. Another 162 words(12 lines of text) covering the years 1811 and 1866 are included under the topic Early Dunker History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 24 words(2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Dunker Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Between the 17th and 20th centuries, hundreds of thousands of Europeans came to North America, and many Rhinelanders were among them. They had many various reasons for making the choice: to escape poverty and persecution, for adventure, and for the opportunity to own their own land. Ellis Island, one of the main American immigration centers, saw many settlers as they moved on to the states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, Illinois, California, and New York. In Canada, they found homes in Ontario, and on the great plains of the Midwestern provinces. The Dunker were among of the early German families that came to North America:

Dunker Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Marie Cath Dunker, who landed in North America in 1832-1849
  • Fr Wilh Dunker, aged 48, arrived in New Orleans, La in 1843
  • Adolf Dunker, who arrived in Texas in 1846
  • Charles Dunker, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1849
  • William Dunker, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1872

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  1. Bahlow, Hans. Deutschlands geographische Namenwelt Etymologisches Lexikon der Fluss- und Ortsnamen alteuropaischer Herkunft. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1985. Print.
  2. Jones, George F. The Germans of Colonial Georgia 1733-1783 Revised edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0806311614).
  3. Rupp, Daniel L. A Collection of Upwards of Thirty Thousand Names of German, Swiss, Dutch, French and Other Immigrants to Pennsylvania from 1727 to 1776. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 2000. Print. (ISBN 978-0806303024).
  4. Strassburger, Ralph B. German Pioneers The Original Lists of Arrivals in the Port of Philadelphia 3 Volumes. Baltimore: Picton Press, 1992. Print. (ISBN 978-0929539980).
  5. Preuss, Otto. Die Lippischen Familiennamen mit Berücksichtigung der Ortsnamen. Detmold: Meyer'sche Hofbuchh, 1887. Print.
  6. Rietstap, Johannes Baptist. Armorial Général. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  7. Kneschke, Dr. Ernest Heinrich. Neues allgemeines Deutsches Adels-Lexicon 9 Volumes New General German Aristocracy Lexicon. Leipzig: Friedrich Voigt, 1859. Print.
  8. Fogleman, Aaron Spencer. Journeys German Immigration, Settlement and Political Culture in Colonial America 1717-1775. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1986. Print. (ISBN 978-0812215489).
  9. Gottschald, Max. Deutsche Namenkunde unsere Familiennamen nach ihrer Entstehung und Bedeutung. München: J.F. Lehmanns Verlag, 1932. Print.
  10. Garland, Mary and Henry Garland Editions. Oxford Companion To German Literature 3rd Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997. Print. (ISBN 0198158963).
  11. ...

The Dunker Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Dunker 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 27 October 2010 at 13:32.

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