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Surname Dufke - Meaning and Origin

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Dufke: What does the surname Dufke mean?

The surname Dufke (or Duffke) is of Germanic or Slavic origin and refers to a clearing or separated area of land, derived from the Old High German words "tuf" or "duf" meaning "tough/hard", and "kedin/ketin" meaning "set aside/separated". It has been suggested that the modern spelling of the name derives from an even older Germanic word, "dubjan", which seems to mean "ride or march through".

The Dufke surname is found mainly in northern Germany (in the area now known as Lower Saxony) where it is one of the oldest recorded surnames extant. It appears as early as 1386, when Meincke Dufke was recorded in the records of Rubkow in the former Principality of Ratzeburg. Over time, the name has spread throughout Germany and the former German-speaking regions of Eastern Europe.

The Dufke surname has been associated with several prominent people throughout its history. These include Jan Dufke, a German engraver active from 1593 to 1612; Gottfried Dufke, a German bookseller and publisher; and William Dufke, a former leader of the Deutschen Nationalverband (German National Association).

Today, the Dufke surname is still a common one in northern Germany, and is also well-represented in other countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. The name has also seen some minor spelling variations, including Dofke, Duffke, Dufeke, and Dufke.

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Dufke: Where does the name Dufke come from?

The last name Dufke is most commonly found today in Europe. It has roots stretching back to the 10th century, when a Norman knight called Dufke settled in the Rhineland-Palatinate region in Germany. Since then, the family has spread across central and northern Germany, and can be found in many cities today. There are also scattered reports of people bearing the name Dufke now found in other parts of the world, such as the United States, Australia and South Africa, where immigrants brought the name with them.

In Germany, the distribution begins in the western regions near North Rhine-Westphalia, Lower Saxony and the Rhine-Main area. It is also particularly popular in the northern states of Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (formerly East Germany). The name can also be found in Bavaria in central Germany, Thuringia and Saxony. Dufke is much less common in the south of the country.

Though it has been around for almost a thousand years, Dufke has failed to become a particularly widespread name. There are no accurate numbers available on the current population, but today, Dufke is perhaps most readily associated with rural areas in Germany, and the many small towns and villages in which it can be found remain closely linked to its long history.

Variations of the surname Dufke

The surname Dufke is most likely of Germanic origin, as the name is rare in other countries. Many variants and spellings of the surname exist, though most are simply variations on the same original spelling. Some of the more common variants are Dufkat, Dufky, Dufkaht, Dufkeit, Dufkes, DufKack, and DufKatz.

If the family line traces all the way back to Germany, then some of the early spellings of the surname may have been Dufka, Dufke, Dufe, Dufk-e, Dufkei, or Dufkeck. The use of -ck and -ke as a suffix are common and can refer to the place of origin or a particular family line.

The surnames Dufke and Dufkeit may also have been derived from a patronymic surname, which is formed by adding the suffix -s or -z to the father’s given name. This is a common practice in German-speaking countries when forming a surname.

In some Moersgen, Germany records, the surnames appear as Dufce, Dufki, Dufkec, and Dufge. Over time, there have also been some slight variations in the spelling of the name. For example, the surname could be written as Dufkea, Dhufke, Duffke, or Dufkae.

No matter when the name was formed, the variants of the surname Dufke are similar enough in spelling to suggest a common origin.

Famous people with the name Dufke

  • Boris Dufke: German handball player
  • Arnold Dufke: German film director
  • David Dufke: former German Olympic judoka
  • Emma Dufke: German voice actress
  • Kristin Dufke: American professional dancer
  • Marc Dufke: Swiss tennis player
  • Thomas Dufke: German singer-songwriter
  • Ulla Dufke: German novelist
  • Werner Dufke: German former track and field athlete
  • Yola Dufke: German television and film actress

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