This surname of English origin, is either a locational name from any of the various minor places so called, deriving from the Middle English 'fair' (Old English 'forger') meaning 'lovely' or 'fair' plus 'bank', 'bank' or 'hill', or, a topographical name for someone who lived by the Fairbank hence 'dweller by the fairbank'. The name dates back to the late 16th Century, (see below). Variations in the idiom of the spelling include Fairbanks, Fayrebanck etc.. One Stephen Fayrebanck married Ales Okes at St.Bride, Fleet Street, London on August 31st 1607. William, son of William and Mary Fairbank was christened at St. Mary Whitechapel, Stepney on January 1625, and George, son of Henry and Anne Fairbank, was christened at St. Mary in the Fields, Westminster on August 11th 1701. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Fairbank son of Richard Farebank, which was dated 1583, in the 'Register of the Freeman of the City of York', during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as 'Good Queen Bess', 1558 - 1603. 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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