This interesting and long-established surname has two distinct possible sources, each with its own history and derivation. Firstly, Abrey may be of Old French origin, and a variant of the more familiar Aubrey, itself deriving from either of two Old French personal names. The first, "Aubri, Auberi", comes from the Old German "Alberic", a compound of the elements "alb", elf, and "ric", power, and the second, "Albree, Aubree", derives ultimately from the Old Germanic female given name "Albrada", elf-counsel. Both names were initially introduced into England by the Normans after the Conquest of 1066, and early recordings include: Walterus filius (son of) Alberi, entered in the Domesday Book of 1086 for Suffolk, and Aubri Bunt, noted in the 1273 Hundred Rolls of Cambridgeshire. The surname, first recorded in the late 13th Century, was re-introduced into Britain by French Huguenot refugees fleeing religious persecution in their own country during the 16th and 17th Centuries. On August 26th 1655, Fransois Aubry was christened at the French Huguenot Church, Threadneedle Street, London. The second possibility is that Abrey is a French habitation name for someone living in a rudimentary dwelling, from the Old French "abri", shelter, refuge. On April 21st 1587, the christening of Ydatte Abry took place at Loromontzey, Meurthe-et-Moselle, France, and in 1598, Edward Abrey was entered in the Oxford University Register. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Aubrey, which was dated 1273, in the "Hundred Rolls of Berkshire", 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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