Surnames which are so rare as to apply basically to only one family, are almost always a variant form of a more popular base spelling. These variants usually derive from a change in dialect, as the original nameholders moved around the country, and this in turn lead to spelling errors and phonetic (sounds like) surnames. Education dates from the late Victorian period, barely one century ago. Amongst the eight hundred and seventy members of the crew of Nelson's flagship 'Victory' in 1805, only eighty could sign their names. It could be said that this approximate date is also significant for the development of the surname 'Eburah', because it was at this time that a change occurred when possibly through the simple slip of a pen 'Eburan' which we believe to be the original form, became 'Eburah'. 'Eburan' is itself a variant form of the much earlier 'Eburn'. This latter spelling is of Old English origins (pre 10th century) from 'eg' meaning island, and 'burna' - a river. The village now called 'Ebernoe' in Sussex has these origins and is a possible source of the present surname. What is definate is that the original 'Eburah' name holder (Samuel) was recorded in Leicester at the beginning of the 19th century as both Eburan and Eburah. As an example on November 8th 1812 at the christening of his son Joseph, both he and his son are recorded as Eburan, although earlier (see below) he appears as Eburah, all very confusing! The spelling form as Eburan seems to have come into Leicester in the mid 18th century, all spellings before that being as Eburn, back into the 16th century. Unfortunately certain critical 'links' have not been found. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Samuel Eburah, which was dated October 30th 1808, a witness at St Nicholas Church, Leicester, during the reign of King George 111, known as 'Farmer George' 1760 - 1820. 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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