This curious surname, recorded in Church Registers of Devonshire and Somerset from the early 16th Century, under the variant spellings Boobier, Bowber, Bowbeer, Bubeer and Baub(i)er, has two distinct possible sources, each with its own history and derivation. Firstly, Boobyer may be of Anglo-Saxon origin, and a locational name from some minor, unrecorded, or now "lost" place believed to have been situated in the West Country, because of the high incidence of early surname recordings from this area. The component elements of the placename are most likely the Olde English pre 7th Century "bur", cottage, bower, with the Olde English "bearu" (Middle English "beare"), grove, wood. The initial element is found frequently in West Country placenames, as in Bower, Somerset, recorded as "Bur" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and the latter element "bearu" occurs as "beer, bere, bear" or "beare" in compound placenames, for example in Shebbear and Rockbeare, Devonshire. The surname may also be of Old French origin, and a variant of "Baubier", itself a nickname for someone with a speech defect, from "begue", a stammerer. Recordings of the surname from Church Registers include: the christening of George Boobyer, an infant, at North Petherton, Somerset, on November 7th 1585; the christening of Jacob Boubier on October 5th 1603, in Meurthe-et-Moselle, France; and the marriage of Diana Boobyer to John Tuff at St. David's, Exeter, Devonshire, on January 25th 1798. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Johanna Bowber, which was dated April 27th 1539, marriage to Henry Carpenter, at Knowstone, Devonshire, during the reign of King Henry V111, known as "Bluff King Hal", 1509 - 1547. 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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