This unusual and interesting surname is of Germanic origin, and derives from the Old German personal name "Colbert" meaning "cool-bright". The given name appears as "Colbert" in the Domesday Book of 1086 in Devonshire, Cheshire, and Lincolnshire. The surname dates back to the early 13th Century (see below), and variations in the spelling of the surname include Colebert, Coleberte, Colberd, Coleburt, and Colburt. London Church Records list the christenings of Thomas, son of Thomas and Elizabeth Colbert, on October 23rd 1616 at St. Dunstan's, Stepney, and Elizabeth Coleberte on June 25th 1620 also at St. Dunstan's. One Jean Baptiste Colbert (1619 - 1683) was a French statesman who was chief minister to Louis X1V. He reformed the taille and pursued a mercantilist policy, creating a powerful navy and merchant fleet, and building roads and canals. A Coat of Arms granted to Francis Colbert, Count of Colbert, France, in 1723, is gold, a black snake in pale. James Colbert, aged 26 yrs., a famine emigrant, sailed from Cork aboard the "Adirondack" bound for New York on April 11th 1846. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Colbert, which was dated 1205, in the "Pipe Rolls of Devonshire", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 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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