This rare French surname is locational. It derives from the famous town of Chartres, in the department of Eure-et-Loire, a town which has given rise to such surnames as Charters, Chartereux, Charterhouse, Cartres, Chartres, Chatteris, Charteris, and no doubt others as well. English records in general are much superior to those of other European countries, and it is from these that most names are taken. The art or science of bureaucracy commenced in England with the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles in the 7th century, although the definitive work which 'locked' English and to some extent, French, history was the 1086 Domesday Book, the work of the Norman-Frenchman, William, The Conqueror, Duke of Normandy.In France itself, record keeping was haphazard until Napoleon Bonaparte, 1799 - 1814. In his short reign, he managed to create a centralised government, and at the same time the first EEC! Early examples of the surname recording include Robert de Chartres, of Chartre, a diplomat to Scotland in 1296, and Alan de Chartres in the Hundred Rolls of Cambridge in 1279. James Charterhouse was recorded in London in 1559, and Joseph Duchart, the son of Francois and Nicol Duchart, was christened at St Nicol-de-Port, Meurthe et Moselle, France, on January 26th 1804. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Alcher de Chartris, which was dated 1179, the pipe rolls of the county of Sussex, during the reign of King Henry 11, known as 'The church builder', 1154 - 1189. 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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