- This is a genuine American surname in so far that the "modern" spelling was originally found only in 17th Century New York state. However its real origin is Dutch, the present spelling being a variant form of the medieval "Konink" equivalent to the English surname "King" and denoting one who was the chief of the tribe, or who acted the part in the travelling theatres of the time. This is one of the oldest names to be found in America and dates back to the period when Britain and the Netherlands were permanently at war over such issues as the American Colonies (1625-1690). In the end the area then known as New Amsterdam was ceded to Britain, and the "Conklings" became British citizens for about 100 years to 1776. The recordings of the name include the following example: Keziam Conkling, daughter of David Conkling christened on March 30th 1707, at East Hampton. This village would appear to be the original settlement and area for the Conklings. Other spellings include Conklin, John Conklin marrying Sarah Horton at Southold, Suffolk in 1675, Conkline and Kancklin, found at Claverack, Columbia New York in 1788. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Jeremiah Conkling, which was dated July 1st 1668, a christening witness at East Hampton, Suffolk county, New York state, New England, during the reign of King Charles 11, known as "The Merry Monarch", 1660-1685. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
Surnames reference. 2013.