This unusual name is one of the oldest recorded in England appearing in the Domesday Book of 1086 in its Old French (Norman) form of 'Hugo a la Barbe', in Hampshire. As a surname it has grown very naturally from a nickname for a wearer of a beard, derived from the Olde English pre 7th century 'beard' and often appears in early records in a prepositional form, such as 'Thomas Onelabarbe' (Thomas with the beard), (1280 Somerset). Between the 12th and 16th centuries, it was usual for men to be clean shaven, so the wearer of a beard was conspicuous during the crucial period for surname formation. The name could also be locational from Beard in Derbyshire, which means '(on) the bank or brim'. The final 's' indicates the patronymic form i.e., "son of Beard". On March 17th 1677, John Beards married Judith Hinckley at St. Mary's, St. Marylebone Rd., London. Grace, daughter of John Beards was christened on September 7th 1684 at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Westminster. John Beards was christened on November 1st 1706 at Cambridge Road Independent, Bethnal Green. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Alsi Berd, which was dated 1086 Inquests of Ely, Cambridgeshire, during the reign of King William 1 'The Conqueror' 1066-1086. 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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