This is not only one of the earliest of all recorded surnames in the "Old World" (see below), it is also one of the very first in the "New", John Bush of London, being recorded as living at "Elizabeth Cittie, Virginea" on February 16th 1623, in the reign of King James 1 of England and V1 of Scotland (1603 - 1625). The name origin is either Norse-Viking, deriving from the pre 9th Century "buskr", or the Olde English pre 7th Century "busc"; in both cases it is topographical for one who lived by a particularly distinctive copse or thicket.The variant spellings include Bushe, Bish, Bysh, Bysshe, Busk and Buske, and the early recordings include: Roger atte Buske, also known as Roger Del Bushe, in the Suffolk Pipe Rolls of 1305, and Roger Bussh, who may be the same person, in the Fines Court of Suffolk, 1309. Other early recordings from London Church Registers include: Agnes Bush, who married William Harnson on June 26th 1568, at St. Dunstan's Church, Stepney, Katherin Byshe of Worth, Sussex christened on October 6th 1591. Whilst on December 16th 1629, one George Bush was christened at St. Giles' Cripplegate, perhaps a forebear of the American President, George Bush, who is of original New England stock. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard de la Busce, which was dated 1181, in the "Pipe Rolls of Yorkshire", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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