This ancient and interesting surname is of early medieval English origin, and derives from the Middle English personal name "Aldine", itself coming from the Olde English pre 7th Century "Ealdwine", a compound of the elements "eald", old, and "wine", friend. "Aldanus" and "Alden(e)", are recorded (without surname) in the Domesday Book of 1086, and one Gamel filius (son of) Alden appears in the 1196 Pipe Rolls of Westmorland. The surname has the distinction of being first recorded prior to the end of the 11th Century (see below), and further early examples include: Osgotus Aldwinus (Berkshire, 1196); Alexander Aldeyn (Oxfordshire, 1279); and William Aldyn (Somerset, 1327). In 1524, one John Alden was entered in the Subsidy Rolls of Suffolk, and another John Alden was one of the Pilgrim Fathers who sailed on the "Mayflower". Many of his descendants were merchant seamen, among them James Alden (1810 - 1877), who completed two circumnavigations of the globe. In the modern idiom the surname has a number of spelling variations, including: Alden, Aldin, Aldine, Allden, Aldins, Auden and Olden. A Coat of Arms granted to the Alden family in 1607 depicts three crescents within a bordure engrailed Ermine on a red shield. A gold lion rampant emerging from a ducal coronet per pale red and black, forms the Crest. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Aelfwine Aldine, which was dated circa 1095, in "Feudal Documents from the Abbey of Bury St. Edmunds", Suffolk, during the reign of King William 11, known as "Rufus", 1087 - 1100. 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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