This name, with variant spellings Boulger, Boulsher, Bolgar, Bolger and Bulger, derives from the Old French "boulge", meaning a leather bag or wallet, plus the agent suffix "-ier" (one who does or works with something), and was originally given as an occupational name to a leather worker. Job-descriptive surnames originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and later became hereditary. The surname from this source is first recorded at the beginning of the 14th Century (see below). Recordings from London Church Registers include: the christening of William Bolger, an infant, on April 22nd 1593, at St.Mary Somerset, and the christening of William, son of James and Susan Boulger, on June 21st 1621, at St. James', Garlickhithe. In Ireland, the name is an Anglicised form of the Gaelic "O' Bolguidhir", meaning "descendant of the heavily-built swarthy one". The name belonged to south-east Leinster and several of the family were physicians. One Thomas Boulger, aged 24 yrs., a famine emigrant, sailed from Dublin aboard the "Victory" bound for New York in May 1847. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Bulgere, which was dated 1300, in G. Fransson's, "Middle English Surnames of Occupation", Worcestershire, 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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