This is a very ancient Austro-German surname. It derives from the 12th century word 'stoek' meaning a plank or branch. The surname, was originally either a nickname for a very thin person, or possibly given the robust humour of the period, the reverse. If not a nickname then it was topographical for one who lived by a place where planks where sawn or used, or possibly an area of 'polled trees' whose thin branches were often used for making fences. The surname is recorded in several spellings including Stock, Stoek, Stockle, Stoekel, and Stoekle, the latter three forms being diminutives and translating as 'Little stick' or more likely 'The son of Stick'. Whatever the precise original meaning, the surname has been well recorded over the past centuries, and there has been at least one grant of coats of arms to nameholders in the region known as 'The Tirol', part of Austria and Switzerland. Early examples of the surname recording taken from the various registers of the medieval period, include Stocklinus de Gamburg in 1233, and Tilman Stockeleff, also recorded as Tilman Stockleve, from the town of Gottingen, in 1488. The coat of arms has the blazon of quarterly, 1st and 4th a gold star on a black field, 2nd and 3rd a white castle on a blue field. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Hugo Stockell, which was dated 1277, recorded in the charters of the town of Wyl, Germany, during the reign of Rudolph of Hapsburg, Emperor of Germany, 1273 - 1292. 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.