Show ContentsDunkle History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The bountiful region surrounding the Rhine river is the birthplace of the name Dunkle. A single name was, at one time, all that people needed. However, increasing ease of travel and the burgeoning populations forced people to adopt a hereditary surname to set themselves apart from others. A common form of surname found in the Rhineland was the local name, a name taken on from a place-name. Originally denoting the proprietorship of a village or estate, the German preposition von, which means from or of, used with local names, was taken as a mark of aristocracy. The surname Dunkle was given to someone who lived near a swamp. Ancient records reveal the name Dunkle is derived from the Old German word dunk, which referred to a small hill in a swampy area. The surname Dunkle 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 Dunkle had dark physical features.

Early Origins of the Dunkle family

The surname Dunkle was 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.

Early History of the Dunkle family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Dunkle research. Another 80 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1811 and 1866 are included under the topic Early Dunkle History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Dunkle Spelling Variations

In the medieval era, many different cultural groups lived in the German states. There are thus many regional variations of German surnames from that era. Westphalians spoke Low German, which is similar to modern Dutch. Many German names carry suffixes that identify where they came from. Others have phrases attached that identify something about the original bearer. Other variations in German names resulted from the fact that medieval scribes worked without the aid of any spelling rules. The spelling variations of the name Dunkle include Dunkel, Dunckel, Dunkelman, Dunkelmann, Dunkell, Dunkle, Dunker and many more.

Early Notables of the Dunkle family

More information is included under the topic Early Dunkle Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Dunkle Ranking

In the United States, the name Dunkle is the 7,619th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. 1

United States Dunkle migration to the United States +

The great European flow of migration to North America, which began in the middle of the 17th century and continued into the 20th century, was particularly attractive to those from the Rhineland who wished to escape either poverty or religious persecution. Many of those who left the Rhineland to seek their fortunes in the prosperous and free New World settled in the major urban centers of the United States and Canada. In the United States, the settlers from the Rhineland passed through immigration centers like that of Ellis Island, most of them moving on to Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, Illinois, California, and New York. In Canada, the majority of Rhinelanders settled in Ontario and the prairie provinces. An examination of passenger and immigration lists has revealed many important settlers to North America bearing the name Dunkle, or one of its variants above:

Dunkle Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Geneva L. Dunkle, aged 32, who settled in America, in 1909
  • Calvin Dunkle, aged 33, who landed in America, in 1911
  • Elizabeth Dunkle, aged 28, who immigrated to the United States, in 1911
  • John C. Dunkle, aged 33, who immigrated to America from London, England, in 1912
  • Hilda Dunkle, aged 21, who landed in America from Liverpool, England, in 1914
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Dunkle (post 1700) +

  • Edward Perks "Davey" Dunkle (1872-1941), American Major League Baseball pitcher who played from 1897 to 1904
  • Clare B. Dunkle (b. 1964), American children's fantasy author and librarian, best known for her novel The Hollow Kingdom Trilogy for which she won the 2004 Mythopoeic Fantasy Award
  • John W. Dunkle, American politician, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, 1905-09 2
  • John J. Dunkle, American politician, Representative from New York 4th District, 1982, 1984, 1990 2
  • John C. Dunkle, American Democratic Party politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania 17th District, 1920 2
  • Jacob A. Dunkle, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Pennsylvania, 1944; Chair of Bedford County Republican Party, 1953; Presidential Elector for Pennsylvania, 1956 2
  • Alberta K. Dunkle, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from California, 1948 2
  • Aaron K. Dunkle, American Republican politician, Member of Pennsylvania State Senate 6th District, 1875-78; Pennsylvania Secretary of internal affairs, 1879-83 2

  1. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  2. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, December 11) . Retrieved from on Facebook