Recorded as Colvin and Colvine, this most interesting surname has a number of possible origins. Firstly it may be from the Old Welsh personal name "Coluin," a Celtic name of uncertain meaning. One Colvin or Colvinus was a "tenant-in-chief" in Devonshire, holding his lands during the reign of Edward the Confessor (1042 - 1066), and recorded as a landowner in the Domesday Book of 1086. Secondly, the surname may be English and Scottish, and if so is habitational name from the village of Colleville in Seine-Maritime, in France. Finally, the surname may be of Irish origin, and a derivation from the Gaelic Mac Conluain, translating as "The son of the great hero!" Examples of recordings include that on July 24th 1605 of Joan Colvin, christened at St. Margaret's Westminster, London. An interesting namebearer was John Russell Colvin (1807 - 1857), an official in the East India Company's service in Bengal (1826 - 1835), and later Governor-General of the north-west provinces in India from 1853. A Coat of Arms granted to the family depicts a red cross moline on a silver shield, and on an azure canton a trefoil slipped gold, the Crest being a silver hind's head couped charged with a trefoil slipped green. The Motto, "In hoc signo vinces", translates as, "Under this sign thou shalt conquer". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Wlfwinus Colewin, which was dated 1210, in the "Curia Regis Rolls of Derbyshire", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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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