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The Origin of the Conklin Surname


Conklin

There are several mysteries about this unusual surname recorded in the forms of Conklin, Concklin, and Conkling. The New Dictionary of American Surnames claims without providing any proof, that it derives from the Dutch ‘Konkelen’, and translates as either a descendant of a chieftain or a conspirator, somewhat opposing viewpoints. We have not been able to satisfy ourselves that the name origin is Dutch at all, certainly no recordings as Konkelen or Conckeleyne or Concklin have been found in Holland. A rare recording as ‘Konkelenberg’would seem to be the nearest, this apparently translates as ‘one who lives by deep water at the side of the hill’, quite logical for Holland and North Germany. But to add confusion all the early recordings are in New England and all seem very British. There is no trace of any Dutch or European Christian names. We have investigated the records for the original counties of Norfolk and Suffolk, the areas from which many New England settlers came, and hence the same county names in the USA. A surname spelt Conking or Conling was recorded there, with one Steven Conking being married at South Walsham, Norfolk, in 1575. We believe that this ‘Conking’ may be the origin of the American ‘Conklin(g)’. Early recordings include Abigail Conklin, the grand-daughter of Benjamin Conckelyne (so much for spelling), christened at East Hampton, Suffolk County, New York, on June 26th 1701, and Mary Conklin, who married Marshall Pierce at Almeda, Oakland, California, on July 13th 1863. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Benjamin Conckelyne, which was dated June 1st 1668, married Hannah Mulford at East Hampton, New York, during the reign of King Charles 11, of England and New England, 1660 – 1685. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to “develop” often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

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