This most interesting and unusual surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and was a nickname not necessarily implying old age, but rather used to distinguish an older from a younger bearer of the same given name, from the Olde English pre 7th Century "eald", Middle English "old", meaning old. Variants of the surname in the modern idiom include Ould, Auld, Ault, Aude (Scotland), and Elte (Netherlands). Early examples of the surnames include: the marriage of Margareta Elt and Jacobus Foster on January 29th 1586, at the church of St. Martin in the Fields, Westminster, London; the marriage of Ann Elte and William Wente on January 17th 1597, at West Wittering in Sussex; the marriage of Phillip Elte and Elizabeth Jennynges on April 14th 1612, at St. Giles' Cripplegate, London; and the birth of one Lijdia Elte on November 12th 1774, at Oostermeer, Friesland, in the Netherlands. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Alde, which was dated 1284, in the "Calendar of Documents Relating to Scotland", during the reign of King Alexander 111 of Scotland, 1249 - 1286. 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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