This interesting surname is of medieval Dutch origin, and is a topographical name from residence by an open patch of ground where bears were held, deriving from the Middle High German "ber(n)", bear, with the Dutch "veld", field, open country, land free from wood. Throughout the Middle Ages the bear was a familiar figure in popular entertainments such as bear baiting and dancing bears, and consequently the animal was widely found. The Old Norse "barn", young warrior, akin to the Germanic "ber(an)", may also form the initial element of the name thereby implying a field where young warriors were trained. The surname was introduced into England prior to the end of the 17th Century, as the following recordings show: Dieterich Barnevelt (marriage to Elizabeth Horneck), at St. Martin Outwich, London, on May 21st 1747. Recordings of the name from Church Registers of the Netherlands include the christening of Derch, son of Hermen Barneveld and Fijtjen Hengeveldts, at Hatten, Gelderland, on February 10th 1712. A Coat of Arms granted to the Barneveld or Barnevelt family is recorded heraldically in Rietstap's "Armorial General", and depicts a silver cross moline on a red shield. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Sara Barnveld, which was dated May 6th 1668, marriage to Jan Adrianus, at Spaarndam, Noord, Holland, during the reign of John De Dwtt, known as "The Grand Pensioner", 1650 - 1672. 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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