Unlike many apparently obvious surnames, this interesting and quite rare example, actually reflects what it means. It is either a nickname for a good swimmer from the pre 8th century Norse Viking "dyfa" or it can be locational and describe a former inhabitant of the town of Dives in Calvados, France. The forms of the name are usually Diver(s), Dive(s), and Divver, and the recorded spellings are now so intermixed, it is usually impossible to say which name today relates to which origin. Oddly the first recording is clearly locational (see below) from the town, whilst the first recording in the Norse-English, which should have predated the Norman locational origin by several centuries does not appear until 1252 when Robert Dyvere is recorded at Ramsey Abbey, Suffolk.Other early recordings include William de Dyves in 1242, and Gunnilda Divere, who was presumably a lady diver(!), in the Hundred Rolls of Cambridge, in 1279. Other recordings include Hugo de Diva of Northampton in 1273, and Alanus Diversus in Oxford in the same year, the cleric obviously being Latin trained. It is generally accepted that the epicentre of the name is Cambridgeshire, and amongst the various interesting recordings associated with the surname is that of Leopoldus Sylvanus Albertus Humphrey Diver, christened at Soham, Cambridge on April 29th 1745, he was the son of a gentleman with apparently the same name. A somewhat less "gaudy" recording is that of Ann Divers who married Edmond Webb at Chesterton, Cambridge, on May 17th 1762. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Boscelinus de Diue, which was dated 1086, in the Domesday Book for Cambridge, during the reign of King William 1, known as "The Conqueror" 1066 - 1087. 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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