This interesting name is of Old French origin, and is an early medieval occupational surname for a barber. The derivation is from the Old French "barbier", Anglo-Norman French "barber", from the Latin "barbarius", a derivative of "barba", beard. The barber of the Middle Ages was a skilled practitioner; he not only cut hair and shaved beards, but also acted as a surgeon and tooth-puller. Job descriptive surnames originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and later became hereditary. The development of the surname includes the following examples: Thomas le Barber (1282, London) and Seykin le Barbier (1299, ibid.), and the modern surname has two forms, Barber and Barbour, the latter is found mainly in Scotland and Northern Ireland. One Thomas Barber was an early emigrant to the American colonies, leaving London on the "Christian" in March 1634, bound for New England. A Coat of Arms granted to the Barber family is a gold shield with two red chevrons between three red fleurs-de-lis, the Crest being a bull's head divided per pale silver and red out of a gold ducal coronet. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Alan le Barbur, which was dated 1221, witness in the "Assize Court Rolls of Warwickshire", 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.
© Copyright: Name Origin Research 1980 - 2017