This famous Spanish and Portugese surname found in the spellings of Chavez, Chavey, Chaves, and Chauvey, has at least two claimed possible origins, both from early Hebrew baptismal names. The most usual is as a form of the male given name 'Jaime', the English 'James', and the Italian 'Jacobus' or 'Jacomus'. All ultimately derive from 'Jacob' - meaning 'may god protect'. The American Dictionary of Family Names claims that the second origin is a derivation of 'Isabel', a medieval French female christian name. Unfortunately no source is quoted, but our research suggests that this prognosis is at best unlikely as 'Isabel' is a 13th century development of 'Elizabeth', which itself derives from the pre 1200 B. C. 'Elish-eba' - meaning the 'oath of god'. To add to the confusion the name when of Portugese origin is claimed to be locational and derive from a place called 'Chaves', a curiously contortion of the Roman (Latin) 'Aquae flaviae' meaning the 'Springs of Flavius', an early spa town founded by the Emperor Vespasian in the 1st century a.d. Early examples of church recordings include those of Bernarda de Chavey who married Manuel Lorenzo de Eescobar at Cordoba, Spain, on July 1st 1642, Antonio Chaves de Javier, at San Pedro, Navarra, on May 18th 1660, and Juan Antonio Chavez who maried Elizabetha Fourquier at Madrid, on June 1st 1742. The coat of arms granted to 'Chaves de Castille' has the blazon of a gold field, with five keys, all with a border of blue and a semee of gold saltires. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Diego de Chavez, which was dated 1531, christened at Santa Cruz de Teneriffe, during the reign of King Charles 1 of Spain, 1516 - 1556. 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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