Recorded as Bec, Beck, Beckman, Becks, and occasionally Backson and Beckson, this is an English surname. It is has a number of possible origins. Firstly, it may be topographical for someone who lived beside a stream or brook, from the pre 7th century Norse-Viking word bekkr. Secondly, it may be locational, and originate from any of the places called Bec in Northern France, the name means stream, such as Bec Hellouin in the departement of Eure, and which provided the first recording of the surname (see below). Thirdly, the name may derive from a medieval English nickname for someone with a prominent nose. This is from the word "beke", meaning the beak of a bird. Finally it can be occupational for a maker or seller of a matlock or pickaxe originally called a becca, and a fearsome weapon. Henry Becks was an early settler in the New England colonies of America who left the Port of London on the ship "Blessing" in July 1635. Henry Beckman was recorded at St Andrews by the Wardrobe in the city of London on February 14th 1621, and William Becksonne at St Giles Cripplegate in the city of London, on June 5th 1631. The coat of arms most associated with the name is des as Or (gold), two bars dancettee sable (black) in pale proper a chief azure (blue). thereon three annulets argent (silver)". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter Bec. This was dated 1086, in the Domesday Book of Buckinghamshire, during the reign of King William 1st, known as "The Conqueror", 1066 - 1087. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.