My maiden name is Dukes...any connections?
I don't know of any connection to me, but I do speak German.
The word for Duke
in German is Herzog
If your maiden name is Dukes, and you are of German descent, chances are pretty good the English changed your family's surname, anglicizing it. That was done quite frequently. Schmidts became Smiths, Schneiders became Taylors, Beckers became Bakers, and so on. Sometimes the German immigrants changed the surname themselves in order to fit in.
You may want to see if you have a connection to the Herzog family.
Another possibility is the surname Graf. Graf
really means Count
in German, but it could have been mistranslated as Duke.
If you are from the Shenandoah Valley, you are probably well aware of the way the English anglicized German last names. The town of Stephens City in the Northern Shenandoah Valley was actually founded by two German brothers from Heidelberg, Ludwig and Peter Stephan (or Steffen). They came to be known as Lewis and Peter Stephens, and the rest is history. You know the Lutheran Church across from the Sheetz station right off I-81 there? I believe the Stephan brothers founded it back in the 1700s.