This unusual and interesting surname, recorded in the spellings of Aris, Ariss and Aries, is usually medieval occupational and locational in origin, and dates from the time of the Flemish Weavers, circa 13th Century. The name means either a person who worked in a fashion of the "Arras" cloth, as in the quotation "one bede Coveringe of Aries" (1562), or someone who was a former inhabitant of Arras in France, or Arras in Yorkshire; the latter being a particularly popular source of the name. The word "arras" is derived from the Norse-Viking "arom", and translates as "the dairy settlement".Job-descriptive surnames originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and later became hereditary; while locational surnames were developed when former inhabitants of a place moved to another area, usually to seek work, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace. The name development since 1202 (see below) includes: John Aras (1421, the Friary Rolls of Yorkshire), and Robert de Arras (1273, London). One of the earliest settlers in the American Colonies was John Aris, aged 19 yrs., who embarked for Virginia in May 1635 on the ship "Plaine Joan" of London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Simon de Araz, which was dated 1202, in the "Pipe Rolls of Lincolnshire, during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1316. 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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