This is an old ancient name, thought to be originally derived from the Celtic word "cairt" meaning "cart". It is an occupational surname for a transporter of goods, with an elaborate history and derivation. There are four sources for the word, from the Latin "carettarius", from "carrum"; from the Old Norman French "caretier", surviving in modern French surnames such as "cartier", from the Middle English (cart(e)", derived from the Old Norse "kartr" or the Olde English "craet" and finally from the Olde French "charetier", charioteer.All four of these sources have been merged to form the modern English surnames Carter and Charter. Nicholas le Carter appears in the Oxfordshire Hundred Rolls of 1273. On September 6th 1549, Edmond, son of James Carter was christened at St. Mary Magdalene, Bermondsey, London. The marriage of Elsabethe Carter and William Evans took place at St. Margaret's, Westminster, London on July 17th 1553, and Agnes Carter was christened at the same place in January 1556. One Robert Carter was a passenger on the "Mayflower", the ship that carried the Pilgrim Fathers to New England in 1620. A very early Coat of Arms granted to a Carter family depicts two gold lions rampant combatant on a black shield. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Rannulf le Caretier, which was dated 1192 - 1193, in the "Pipe Rolls of Huntingdonshire", during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "The Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. 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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