The German surname of GUNKEL was an occupational name for a spinner or maker of spindles, originally derived from the Old German word KUNKEL (spindle) and rendered in medieval documents in the Latin form CONICULA. Many of the modern family names throughout Europe reflect the profession or occupation of their forbears in the Middle Ages and derive from the position held by their ancestors in the village, noble household or religious community in which they lived and worked. The name is also spelt KUNKELL, KINKEL, GUNKEL, CONKLE, CONKLING and KUNKLER. Surnames are divided into four categories, from occupations, nicknames, baptismal and locational. All the main types of these are found in German-speaking areas, and names derived from occupations and from nicknames are particularly common. A number of these are Jewish. Patronymic surnames are derived from vernacular Germanic given names, often honouring Christian saints. Regional and ethnic names are also common. The German preposition 'von (from) or 'of', used with habitation names, is taken as a mark of aristocracy, and usually denoted proprietorship of the village or estate from where they came. Some members of the nobility affected the form VON UND ZU with their titles. In eastern Germany there was a heavy influence both from and on neighbouring Slavonic languages. Many Prussian surnames are of Slavonic origin. A notable member of the name was Roscoe CONKLING (1829-88) the American politician, born in Albany, New York. He sat in congress as a Republican, 1852-62; in the senate, 1867, 1873, 1879. In 1876 he received 93 votes for the presidential nomination; in 1880, supporting Grant and opposing Baine, he split the Republican party. The associated coat of arms for this name are recorded in J.B Rietstaps Armorial General. Illustrated by V & H.V Rolland's. This monumental work took 23 years to complete and 85,000 coats of Arms are included in this work. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error.
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