This very unusual name is of early Medieval English origin, and derives from the rare medieval female personal name 'Eve' or 'Eva', from the Hebrew name 'Chava', thought to mean either 'life' or 'serpent'. According to the Book of Genesis, Eve was the name of the first woman, and the modern surname may in some cases be derived from someone who had played the part of Eve in a medieval mystery play or pageant depicting the Creation; the part would always have been played by a man, so the surname in this instance would descend through the male line, as distinct from the direct descent through the female line as a metronymic from the given name. The modern surname can be found as Eve or Eva. John Eva was christened in London in November 1600, and one Jane Eva married John Eare at St. Mary's, Marylebone, London, on August 26th 1750. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Gregory Eve, which was dated 1279, The Cambridgeshire Hundred Rolls, during the reign of King Edward 1, 'The Hammer of the Scots', 1272 - 1307. 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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