This unusual surname derives from "Aveline", the Olde French for "hazel nut". Introduced by the Normans after the 1066 invasion. The name rapidly achieved considerable popularity and in the early days was closely associated with the female members of the Norman Monarchy and Nobility. The personal name is recorded in 1175 as Avelina of Holme (in Norfolk), later developments and recording include Reginald Avelyn (1296, Sussex). Reverend Andrew Avelyn (1489, Norfolk) George Eveling who married Elizabeth Ryvers at St.Brides, Fleet Street in 1600, Abraham Evelin who married Jane Wraxall in 1635 at St. Botolphs, London, and Charles Evelyn christened at St. Peters, Paul Street, Wharf in 1648. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henry Avelin, which was dated 1279, in the "Hundred Rolls of Cambridge", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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