The German surname of LUDEKE was a baptismal name 'the son of Louis or Llewis', an ancient and still popular font name. This was the name of the founder of the Frankish dynasty, recorded in Latin chronicles as LUDOVICUS. The name was popular throughout France in the Middle Ages, and was introduced into England by the Normans. On the continent it was a hereditary name borne by many French kings. The bulk of European surnames in countries such as England and France were formed in the 13th and 14th centuries. The name has numerous variant spellings which include LUDWIG, LUDEWIG, LODEWIK, LUDWICKI, LUDVIG, LADEWIG and LODING, to name but a few. Notables of the name include LUDWIG I (1786-1868) king of Bavaria, born in Strasbourg; he came to the throne in 1825, and by his lavish expenditure on pictures, public buildings and favourites, and by taxes and reactionary policy, provoked active discontent in 1830, and again in 1848, when he abdicated in favour of his son Maximilian II. LUDWIG II (1845-86) king of Bavaria, son of Maximillian II, was born in Nymphenburg. He succeeded in 1864 and devoted himself to the patronage of Wagner and his music, and offered the imperial crown to Willelm I, though he took no part in the war and lived the life of a recluse. He was constantly at feud with his ministers and family, mainly on account of his outlays on superfluous palaces and was declared insane in 1886. A few days later he was found drowned, and it is not known whether his death was suicide, murder or accident. Surnames which were derived from ancient Germanic personal names have the same meaning in many languages. The court of Charlemagne (Charles the Great, king of the Franks (742-814) was Christian and Latin speaking). The vernacular was the Frankish dialect of Old High German, and the personal names in use were Germanic and vernacular. These names were adopted in many parts of northwest Europe, particularly among the noble ruling classes. Hereditary surnames were found in Germany in the second half of the 12th century - a little later than in England and France. It was about the 16th century that they became stabilized.
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