This ancient and distinguished name recorded in many spellings including Bawens and Baldewein (Germany), Baldwin (England), Baldo, Baldavino, Balduini and Baldacchino (Italy), Valdovinos (Spain) and Bollwegen (Flemish) is of pre 5th century Old German origin. It is derived from the male personal name "Bald-wine", composed of the elements "beald", meaning brave, and "wine", a friend. It is first recorded anywhere in the world as "Balduin and Baldewin" in the famous Domesday Book of England 1086. The name was a favourite among the early Franks and the later Normans although its European popularity was as a result of the appointment of Baldwin, the Crusader, who in 1100 became the first Christian king of Jerusalem. The name was also born by Baudoin, count of Flanders (1172 - 1205), who led the Fourth Crusade, and in turn became the first Emperor of Constantinople in 1204. Among the notable bearers of the surname was Thomas Baldwin, one of the first settlers in the American colonies, being listed as "Living in Virginia" on February 16th 1623. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of Stephen Baldewin, which was dated 1200, in the "Pipe Rolls" of Hampshire. This was during the reign of King John of England, 1199 - 1216. 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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