Last name: Laver

Recorded in the spellings of Laver, Lavers, and Laviss, this unusual surname is medieval English and occupational, although a development of the pre 10th century Old French "lavandier". Introduced by the Normans after the 1066 Invasion, this term originally described a worker in the wool industry, and was a metonymic or nickname for a person employed to wash raw wool or rinse the cloth after fulling. In later years it came to describe the owner of the village laundry. Originally only surnames relating to land ownership were in anyway hereditary, unless the children followed the parents occupation. Even then only from the 13th century in England, and not until the 20th century in many countries, did hereditary surnames become the normal practise. Early examples of this surname recording include Cecilia la Lavander in the Hundred Rolls of Cambridgeshire for the year 1273, whilst Robert Laver was a witness at St Mary Magdalen, London, on June 15th 1555. This was in the reign of Mary 1st, known as 'Bloody Mary'. One of the first settlers in the new colonies of America, was William Lavor, who left London, England, for the colony of 'Virginea', on May 15th 1635. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ysabelle la Lauendere, which was dated 1253, in the county pipe rolls of Oxfordshire, 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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