Recorded in many spellings including Oliver, Olliver, Olver, Ollivier, Olivier and the Welsh Bolver and Boliver, a fusion of 'ab Oliver', meaning son of Oliver, this is probably a surname of Roman (Latin) origins. It was apparently introduced into Britain by the Norman-French after the 1066 Invasion. From the begining of time it has been associated with the olive branch, an emblem of peace. There is now a claim that the origination is not from the Latin but from the Norse-Viking pre 5th century "Aleifr", a compound of "an", ancestor, plus "leifr", meaning remains, the 'modern' spelling being a French dialectal form. Perhaps both origins applied. What is certain is that the name was popular throughout Europe in the Dark Ages having been borne by one of Charlemangne's Paladins, and a friend to Roland of "Chanson de Roland" fame, in the 9th century. Eartly examples of the surname recordings in England include "Oliverus" in the famous Domesday Book of 1086, whilst Walter Olifer was a witness to the bishop of Glasgow in Scotland in the year 1180. Other early examples of the surname include: Jordanus Oliueri, in the 1206 Pipe Rolls of Cornwall, whilst John Oliuer appears in the Charters of Soltre Hospital, Scotland in 1250, and from the Welsh-English borders Charles Bolover of Worthen, Shropshire on November 19th 1666. One of the most notable namebearers of the several mentioned in the "Dictionary of National Biography" was William Oliver (1659 - 1716), who accompanied the ill fated Duke of Monmouth's expedition as Surgeon-General, and was later appointed by King William 111 as Physician to the Fleet, 1693 - 1702. The most famous nameholder was probably Sir Lawrence Olivier, later Lord Olivier, 1906 - 1988, the world famous actor. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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