Last name: Alger
This unusual surname derives from the Middle English personal name "Alger", which has an interesting, if complicated, derivation, since several names of different origins, both Continental Germanic (brought to England by the Normans), and Olde English, have fallen together in the course of its formation. These names include: "Aethelgar", Aelfgar and "Ealdgar", all sharing a common final element "gar", spear. The initial elements are respectively "aethel", noble, "aelf", elf, and "eald", old. The first two names occur in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Aelgar, Elgar", and "Algar". The forms "Alger" and "Algar" (without surname) both appear in Records of Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, dated 1195. The derivation is further complicated by the fact that in regions of Scandinavian influence, the name may also stem from the Old Norse "Alfgeirr", Old Danish "Alger", cognate with the Anglo-Saxon "Aelfgar" (as above). Early examples of the surname include: Thomas Alger (Suffolk, 1221); Walter Elgar (Suffolk, 1234); and Thomas Algor (Cambridgeshire, 1260). In the modern idiom the name is spelt: Algar, Alger, Algore, Augar, Augur, Agar, Elgar and Elger. A Coat of Arms granted to the Algar family is a gold shield with a black eagle displayed, membered red, the Crest being a black greyhound's head, charged with four bezants. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Algar, which was dated 1221, witness in the "Assize Court Rolls of Worcestershire", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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.
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