This surname may be either of Anglo-Saxon or Old French origin. Boards is a patronymic form of Board, itself a metonymic occupational name for a maker of boards or tables, deriving from the Olde English pre 7th Century "bord", board, plank of wood. Job-descriptive surnames originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and later became hereditary. Boards may also be a topographical name from residence in a plank-built cottage, deriving from the Old French/Middle English "borde", a little house, lodging, or cottage of timber standing alone in a field. Natural and man-made features in the landscape provided obvious and convenient means of identification in the small communities of the Middle Ages, and consequently gave rise to many surnames. The final "s", when attached to a topographical name, denotes "dweller at (that place)". One Robert Bourde was recorded in Medieval Records of Somerset, dated 1323. On February 8th 1740, Timothy Boards and Elizabeth Wallis were married at Barkway, Hertfordshire, and on June 4th 1759, William Boards, an infant, was christened at St. Andrew's, Enfield, London. A Coat of Arms granted to the family is a shield divided per fesse red and azure, with an escutcheon within an orle of silver martlets, the Crest being a gold antelope statant. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Nicholas Borde, which was dated 1230, in the "Pipe Rolls of Dorset", 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.
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