Recorded in several spellings including Baldack, Baldock, Baldick, Baldrick, Balcock and Baldcock, this is an English surname with one of the most unusual origins. Although sometimes transposed in its spelling, it originates from the town of Baldock in the county of Hertfordshire. This place is first recorded as "Baldac" in the Pipe Rolls of Hertfordshire in 1168. The surprise is that it was named after the Iraqi city of Baghdad, known in French as "Baldac". The derivation of the name, according to Arabic etymology, is the "city of Dat", with Dat being the personal name of an early Mohammedan monk. Baldock was founded in the 12th century by the organisation known as the Crusaders, or more officially the Knights Templar of St John, whose reason for existence was their varied attempts to free Jerusalem from the Moslems. This was a task that they pursued for several centuries, with no noticeable success. The spread of this surname occured when during the Middle Ages, people began to move more freely between jobs. In so doing they often took, or were given, as easy identification, the name of their former home, but given that few people could so much as write their name, distortions of the spelling followed. Examples of the surname recording showing the development include: Thomas Baldac in the Subsidy Rolls of Worcestershire in the year 1280, Ralph de Baldock, archdeacon of St. Andrew's Holborn in the city of London in 1276, and later bishop of London (1306 - 1313), George Balcock, a christening witness at St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, on October 30th 1591, and Louisa Baldcock, who married Henry Putland, at St Giles Cripplegate, also in the city of London, on February 18th 1868.