This interesting surname is of Scandinavian origin, and derives from the Old Norse personal name "Kolbrandr" or the Old Swedish given name "Kolbrand" which is composed of the Old Norse elements "kol" meaning (char)coal plus "brand" meaning burning log or sword. Pre 7th Century Anglo-Saxon and Norse baptismal names were usually distinctive compounds whose elements were often associated with the Gods of Fire, Water and War, or composed of disparate elements. The name may also have originated as a nickname for someone working with a log or coal fire. In the Domesday Book of 1086, the given names "Colbrand" and "Colebran" are recorded in Devonshire and Warwickshire respectively. The surname first appears in the latter half of the 13th Century (see below), and Walter Colebrand was noted in the Ministers' Accounts of the Earldom of Cornwall, dated 1297. In the modern idiom the surname can be found recorded as Colbron, Colbrun and Coalbran. Recordings from English Church Registers include; the marriage of Henry Colbran and Anne Stacy on January 28th 1592, at St. Martin Pomeroy, London, and the christenings of George Thomas and William Alfred, twin sons of George and Mary Ann Coalbran, on May 22nd 1870, at St. Mary's, Portsea, Hampshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Malger Colebrond, which was dated 1275, in the "Hundred Rolls of Sussex", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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