This interesting surname is an Irish variant spelling of the Old French Bouvard, Bouvart and Bovard. It is now very rare but was formerly quite well recorded in County Donegal. It derives from the pre 9th Century Gallo-German, and was originally a personal name made up of the elements "bove" meaning bull or calf, plus "hard", in this case a diminutive of an endearment, such as "little", or perhaps "son of". The name was originally of Huguenot refugee status, nameholders being given land grants in Ulster from the early 17th Century. It is known that many Bouvards - Bouvarts had their name spelling Anglicized to "Board"; Bovaird is the middle ground. The spelling "links" are Bouvard (pre 1600) to Bouvard (see below), or Boyard, of the same period, to Boaird (Margaret Boaird, also London), in 1766. The original date into Ireland was probably early 18th Century, one James Bouvain (as spelt), a farmer, emigrated from Londonderry on May 3rd 1846, bound for New York, whilst on May 15th 1845, Anne Bovaird married John McGarvey at Conwall, County Donegal. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Charles Bouuard, which was dated April 14th 1695, a witness at the French Huguenot Church, Threadneedle Street, London, during the reign of King William 11 of Orange and Scotland, 1689 - 1702. 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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