An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016
Origins Available: Dutch, English, German, Jewish
The distinguished surname Winkler emerged among the industrious people of Flanders, which was an important trading partner and political ally of Britain during the Middle Ages. As a result of the frequent commercial intercourse between the Flemish and English nations, many Flemish migrants settled in Britain. In early times, people were known by only a single name. However, as the population grew and people traveled further afield, it became increasingly necessary to assume an additional name to differentiate between bearers of the same personal name. The manner in which hereditary surnames arose is interesting. Local surnames are derived from where the original bearer lived, was born, or held land. Flemish surnames of this type frequently are prefixed by de la or de le, which mean of the or from the. The Winkler family originally lived in the settlement of Wynkel in Flanders. The surname Winkler belongs to the category of habitation names, which are derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads, or other places. Alternatively the name could have been a nickname referring to "the winkle" as in a periwinkle.
The surname Winkler was first found in Cheshire where one of the first records of the name was "Winchul" c. 1200 in East Cheshire. The next reference found was that of John le Wenchel who was listed in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1271 in Buckinghamshire. 
Flemish surnames are characterized by a large number of spelling variations. One reason for this is that medieval English lacked definite spelling rules. The spellings of surnames were also influenced by the official court languages, which were French and Latin. Names were rarely spelled consistently in medieval times. Scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to specific spelling rules, and people often had their names registered in several different forms throughout their lives. One of the greatest reasons for change is the linguistic uniqueness of the Flemish settlers in England, who spoke a language closely related to Dutch. The pronunciation and spelling of Flemish names were often altered to suit the tastes of English-speaking people. In many cases, the first, final, or middle syllables of surnames were eliminated. The name has been spelled Winkler, Winkle, Windle, Winkel, Wynkler, Wynkle and others.
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Winkler research. Another 89 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Winkler History in all our PDF Extended History products.
More information is included under the topic Early Winkler Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.
Some of the Winkler family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 194 words (14 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.
An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Winkler or a variant listed above:
Winkler Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
Winkler Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
Winkler Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
The Winkler Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Winkler 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 12 November 2015 at 09:29.