This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and has two distinct possible sources. Firstly, it may derive from either of two Olde English pre 7th Century personal names, Ealdhere or Aethelhere, composed of the elements "eald", old or "aethel", noble, with "here", army. The former name appears as the initial element in Aldersey, Cheshire, recorded as "Aldrisey" in 1284, and translating as "the river land (Olde English "eg") of Ealdhere". The places called Alderton in Gloucestershire, Northamptonshire, and Wiltshire, appearing respectively as "Aldritone, Aldritone" and "Aldrintone" in the Domesday Book of 1086 for the above counties, also have "Ealdhere" as their initial element, with "ing", people of, and "tun", settlement. The second possibility is that Alder is of topographical origin from residence by alder trees, deriving from the Olde English "alor", alder(s). Topographical surnames were among the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognisable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages. Early examples of the surname include: John atte Alre (Somerset, 1327), and Alexander Aldre(s), Warwickshire, 1332. Richard Alder, an early emigrant to the New World, is listed on a census of those resident in Virginia on February 16th 1623. The family Coat of Arms is a red shield with three ermine crescents and a silver bordure engrailed, the Crest being a red griffin's head. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ralph de Alre, which was dated 1221, in the "Curia Regis Rolls of Berkshire", 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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