This surname BECK was a locational name 'at the beck' from residence beside a running stream or small rivulet. The name was brought into England in the wake of the Norman Invasion and Walter Bec was documented in the Domesday Book of 1086 in Berkshire and appears to be the first of the name recorded in England. Local surnames, by far the largest group, derived from a place name where the man held land or from the place from which he had come, or where he actually lived. These local surnames were originally preceded by a preposition such as 'de', 'atte', 'by' or 'in'. The names may derive from a manor held, from working in a religious dwelling or from literally living by a wood or marsh or by a stream. Following the Crusades in Europe a need was felt for a family name. This was recognized by those of noble blood, who realised the prestige and practical advantage it would add to their status. Early records of the name also mention Richerus del Bek, 1273 County Lincolnshire. William Becke was documented during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377). Ricardus del Bek of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Joseph Beck married Catherine Andrews at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1759. Since the dawn of civilisation the need to communicate has been a prime drive of all higher mankind. The more organised the social structure became, the more urgent the need to name places, objects and situations essential to the survival and existence of the social unit. From this common stem arose the requirements to identify families, tribes and individual members evolving into a pattern in evidence today. In the formation of this history, common usage of customs, trades, locations, patronymic and generic terms were often adopted as surnames. The demands of bureaucracy formally introduced by feudal lords in the 11th century, to define the boundaries and families within their fiefdoms, crystallized the need for personal identification and accountability, and surnames became in general use from this time onwards. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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