This interesting name is of Flemish (Belgian and/or Dutch) origin, and can be either a topographical surname or a locational one. If the former, the surname may derive from any one of the places called "Nieuwerkerk" in the Netherlands or "Nieuwerkerken" in Belgium. The placenames mean (place of) "the new church", from the Dutch "nieuwe", new, and "kerk", church. The "Van" of Van Niekerk denotes "of" the place, a similar formation to the French locational preposition "de". As a topographical surname, Van Niekerk denotes residence "by the new church", with the same derivation as before. One Gerharda Van Niekerk was christened on March 1714 in Utrecht. A Van Niekerk family of Middelbourg, Belgium, have the following coat of arms recorded in Rietstap's "Armorial General". Three tuscan columns in silver, connected by two silver chevrons, all on a field of azure (blue). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Elizabeth van Niekerch (marriage to Henricus Winckels), which was dated 28th March 1669, Rijswijk, Gelderland, Holland, during the reign of King William of Orange, "Stadtholder", 1672 - 1702. 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.