This unusual name is of Olde English pre 7th Century origins and derives from 'Flota', the ancient word for a boat or ship, and hence by inflation and useage, one who sailed 'a Flota' became 'Float'. The more common surname 'Sailor' a name of Norse origin was introduced in the 9th Century by invasion, and thus superceeding the original word. The modern surname is found both as Flote and Float, although as 'Floelte' (circa 1500) a Coat of Arms was granted. The name recordings include John Float, a witness at St. Dunstans, Stepney on June 13th 1634, whilst Richard Flote married Mary Cloude at St. James Clerkenwell, on July 1st 1667. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ralph Flot, which was dated 1153, recorded in the Rolls of the Abbey of Holme, Norfolk, during the reign of King Henry II, '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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