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Surname Wilkens - Meaning and Origin

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Wilkens: What does the surname Wilkens mean?

The last name Wilkens typically originates from the Germanic language and is believed to be derived from the personal name Wilcke or Wilcko. The name Wilcke is a short form of names such as Willecke and Willeken, which come from old German names with the elements 'wil' (will or desire) and 'kin' (kinsman or relation). This name therefore indicates someone of lowly rank who was related to a notable individual, or one with a strong will.

The earliest known record of the name Wilkens in Germany dates back to the 15th century. Over time, the name became popularized and spread primarily across the northern regions of Germany. It arrived in the United States in the late 19th century, where many immigrants settled. Today, the surname Wilkens is quite common across the US, with an estimated 140,000 individuals currently holding the surname.

Wilkens as a personal name and surname is a symbol of strength and loyalty. It promotes loyalty to family and friends, and the will to overcome obstacles, no matter how difficult. It is a representation of someone who perseveres through trying times and remains strong and determined in the face of adversity.

Wilkens: Where does the name Wilkens come from?

The last name Wilkens is a German surname, with the origin being from Old German meaning "son of Wilke." It is particularly common in German-speaking countries today, with the highest concentration being in Germany and Austria.

Within Germany, Wilkens is a very popular last name. In a 2016 survey, Wilkens ranked at number 181 out of the top 500 surnames in the country. Most of the bearers of the name are located in the northern states. The state of Lower Saxony has the highest number of Wilkens, with the secondhighest concentration being located in North Rhine-Westphalia.

In the United States, the Wilkens surname is relatively uncommon, but still present. According to the US Census Bureau, Wilkens is the 3,984th most common surname in the country. The highest concentration of Wilkens families in the US is in Pennsylvania, followed by New Jersey, New York and California.

Besides Germany and the United States, Wilkens is also found in Canada, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and other German-speaking countries such as Switzerland, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Worldwide, it is estimated that there are around 30,000 people with the last name Wilkens.

Variations of the surname Wilkens

The surname Wilkens has several variants, spellings, and connected surnames. While the most common and accepted spelling is Wilkens, other spellings include Wilkings, Wilkins, Wilkains, Wilkyns, Wilakens, Wilkanes, and Willkens. Different regional accents or pronunciations of the surname have also resulted in Wilkena, Wilkene, Wilkine, Wilkion, Wilkun, Wilkenne, and Wilkinso.

The earliest known variant of Wilkens is Wilcoxen, which originated in England. Wilkens also has overlaps with the surnames Wilke, Wilcken, Wilckens, and Wilcox. Wilk is a German and Ashkenazic Jewish surname derived from Wilkensson, while Wilcken and Wilckens are Dutch derivatives. Wilcox is an alternate spelling of Wilkens that is associated with Irish citizenship.

In addition, the Anglo-Norman surname Wilkin or Wilkins is a derivation of Wilkens. Wilkins was first recorded in Scotland in 1296, as William Wilkynson. Wilkyns is a variant of Wilkins, and has been found in families who have English ancestry. In some instances, Wilkanes and Wilkins could be distinguishing between sons of the same father, with Wilkanes indicating a younger son of Wilkins.

The Occitan surname Wilquen is another variation of Wilkens. Wilquen is usually found in families that boast Spanish origin. It is also likely that the Japanese surname Uryuson, is derived from Wilkens, as Uryuson and Wilkens share the same patronymic root.

Overall, Wilkens is an old Germanic or Anglo-Norman surname that has many variations. Given its long history and various regional influences, Wilkens has resulted in a plethora of both spellings and surnames directly-correlated to its origin.

Famous people with the name Wilkens

  • Bob Wilkens: Retired professional basketball player and coach. He is a three-time NBA Coach of the Year and the longest-tenured coach in NBA history.
  • Paul Wilkens: Retired professional basketball player. He was a five-time All-Star and is a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame.
  • Bill Wilkens: Former professional football player who starred in the NFL for the Green Bay Packers.
  • Maria Wilkens: German architect and town planner. She is renowned for her designs of large-scale public spaces such as parks and courtyards.
  • Marcielle Wilkens: American actress best known for her roles on television shows such as Little House on the Prairie and Dallas.
  • Gordon Wilkens: British air force officer and military historian. He is renowned for groundbreaking biographical studies of prominent wartime figures.
  • John Wilkens: American journalist and author. He is a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and the co-founder of the Center for Investigative Reporting.
  • William Wilkens: American politician. He was a U.S. Senator from Minnesota and a leader in the state’s Republican party.
  • Marah Wilkens: Famous Danish singer and songwriter. She is best known for her style of folk-pop music.
  • Kenneth Wilkens: Renowned American chemist who developed the widely used Wilkens–Munk reaction.

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