Recorded in the spellings of Kalkofen, Kalkhoven and Kalkofer, this is a locational surname of Germanic and sometimes Dutch origins. It originates from a place called Kalkofens near Kalkbrennan in Germany, or from residence by a marshy area in a limestone region. The place name and hence the later surname, is believed to translate as 'the chalk fens'. Locational and residential surnames were amongst the first to be created. They were either names given to the original land owners and lords of the region, or more usually as 'from' names. That is to say names that were given to people after they left their original homes and moved elsewhere. It was and it remains, that one of the easiest forms of identification for a 'stranger' was to call a person by the name of the place from whence they came. Over the centuries education being at best erratic, and local dialects very thick, lead to the development of alternative and 'sounds like' spellings. In this case the earliest example of the surname recording is believed to be that of Elisa Kalkovere of Mainz, in the citizens lists for that city in the year 1328.