Duke Surname Genealogy
The surname Duke is generally
considered to be derived from the various Middle English words duc, duk, and douc that came out of the Old
French duc meaning
“leader.” The patronymic form Dukes (son of Duke) accounts
for about 25% of the
Duke and Dukes
Duke Resources on
- The Origin and History of the Duke Family
Early English Duke genealogy.
- Duke Families of Sussex
Dukes in Sussex.
- The Dukes of Durham
The Duke tobacco dynasty.
- Duke DNA Project Duke DNA.
surname Duke was originally the Norman le Duc and started to appear in
various places – London, Bedfordshire and Warwickshire – in the late
The Norman family identified
with Roger le Duc, who was sheriff and mayor of London between 1225 and
was particularly conspicuous in the 13th century. Other
Dukes of London were successful in the
wool trade and helped with the royal finances in the next century. The best known of these was Thomas Duke, citizen and skinner of
who died in 1422. The Dukes in Suffolk claimed descent from Roger
le Duc and held land at Shadingfield and Brampton. These Dukes were
Royalist during the Civil War but recovered their position
The Duke name was first in the west
country in the early 14th century in Wiltshire. It
appeared a century later in
Gloucestershire, where the Dukes of Cirencester were merchants engaged
with France, and in Devon where Duke merchants from Exeter had
established themselves along the coast at
Otterton. Richard Duke prospered from the dissolution of the
monasteries in the 1530’s, purchasing Otterton Priory and remodelling
it into a mansion. Later Dukes were country gentry until the male
line ran out in 1741.
last Duke was going to build a new house in Otterton Park. The
entrance pillars are still visible there. But sadly he fell off
his horse and died before the house was built.”
19th century, the main location for Dukes was London and the southeast,
other Dukes in Yorkshire and relatively few left in the west country.
Dukes, John and Robert Duke, were Cromwellian soldiers who were granted
estate in Sligo. Their descendants were
landowners in Sligo and Roscommon in the 19th century.
Duke was an early immigrant to Jamestown, Virginia sometime in the
1630’s. His descendants moved westward in
and were later to be found in Georgia and Alabama.
One line is thought to have run to Taylor
Duke in Orange county, South Carolina and to his son Washington Duke.
Duke came to North Carolina from Dorset in the 1720’s. Joseph Dukes was recorded in Orangeburg,
South Carolina in 1757. Thomas Goodman
Duke and William Duke were ship captains based in Charleston who
extensively to the Caribbean at that time.
The Duke tobacco
dynasty began with Washington Duke,
a poor farmer in Orange county, South Carolina at the onset of the
Civil War. Afterwards, his tobacco focus paid huge dividends and
his son James was to become the leader of the American Tobacco Company
trust by the turn of the century. The Duke family fortune was to
end up with his daughter, Doris Duke.
Caribbean. Humphrey Duke
from Devon emigrated to Barbados in the 1630’s and is believed to be
the ancestor of many later Dukes on the island. Henry Duke was
Solicitor-General of Barbados, but was killed in a hurricane in 1781
while trying to protect his wife and two daughters.
Later Dukes in Barbados could have had Irish blood in them, descendants
of Mansergh Duke, a doctor from Sligo who had arrived in the 1890’s. A
later Duke of this family, nicknamed Konks, was the Police Commissioner
Duke came to Australia from Ireland on the Lady
McNaughton in 1840. He was a
portrait and landscape painter who also worked extensively as a scenery
with a number of theatrical companies.
He died in 1853 at the relatively young age of 38.
If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:
Washington Duke was the
founder of the Duke tobacco dynasty that went on to form the American
Geoff Duke was the English
motorcyclist who dominated world motorcycle racing in the 1950’s.
was a youthful American TV
star of the 1960’s.
Select Dukes Today
- 9,000 in the UK (most numerous
- 15,000 in America (most numerous in Texas)
- 9,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)
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