Recorded in a number of spellings including Babare, Babar, Babber, Baber, Babour, Babur, and possibly others, this unusual surname is almost certainly English. It was particularly popular in medieval times in the county of Somerset, and perhaps even earlier in the diocese of Greater London. However according to the "Dictionary of Surnames" by the etymologists Hanks and Hodges, it has no satisfactory etymological explanation. This may be so, but there are several logical possibilities. We believe that the derivation is either from the short forms Babbe or Barbe of the popular medieval female name Barbara, itself from an Ancient Greek word "barbaros", meaning a foreigner, or perhaps from "Babba", an Olde English personal name of the pre 7th century. The pronunciation of Babba would be very similar to the "modern" forms of the surname. There is also an unproven fable that the name originates from Babur, the founder of the Mogul Dynasty in 1526. However as the surname would seem to have already existed in England at or before that date, this seems at best highly unlikely. As Barbe, a proven development of Barbara, the surname spelling is one of the earliest on Bernardus Barb of Hampshire appearing in the famous the Domesday Book of 1086, and that of William Barbe of Kent, in the Patent Rolls of that county in 1229. Recordings of this surname with the apparent suffix of "-er" and taken from the earliest known surviving church registers include: John Baber at St Stephans, Coleman Street, city of London, on February 28th 1539. This was during the reign of King Henry V111th (1510 - 1547), William Baber at Buckland St Mary, Somerset, on September 19th 1546, Jone Baber who married Harye Sleye at Bath Abbey, on May 25th 1597, and the very rare recording in the spelling as Babur of Elizabeth Babur, christened at the church of St Christopher le Stocks, in the city of London, on February 17th 1693. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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