Last name: Arch
This unusual name derives from a short form of a Norman personal name recorded in the form "Archambault", which is composed of the originally Germanic elements "ercan", meaning, "precious", plus "bald", meaning "bold" or "daring". The most commonly found form of the name today is "Archibald" or "Archbald", with many other variants. In the Domesday Book of 1086, the personal name is recorded as "Erchenbaldus", "Arcenbaldus" and "Arcebaldus". One "John Arch" was married to "Elizabethe Maye" on the 20th July 1594, at St. Andrew's, Enfield, while in 1679 a "John Arch" appears in the Parish Register of Christchurch in the Barbadoes, having been an early emigrant to the New World. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Harey Artche, son of Mathew, christened, which was dated 7th April 1593, St. Mary Moses, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Good Queen Bess, 1558 - 1603. 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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