As with a great many Olde Scandinavian and Olde Germanic personal names such as 'Arnkell' which translates as 'eagle-cauldron' this double barrelled surname has no meaning as single unit, but each element has its own individual meaning and derivation. The name 'Foster' has a number of possible origins, it can be a variant of 'Forster', itself meaning either a topographic name for someone who lived by a forest, an occupational name for an maker or user of scissors, from the Olde French 'forcetier', shears, or an occupational name for a wood-worker, from a variant of the Olde French 'fust(r)ier' and finally, 'Foster' can be from a nickname for a foster parent. The first recording is that of 'John Foster', in the 1373 Colchester Court Records. 'Smith' is one of the most popular names in the English speaking world, and means a worker in metal, from the Olde English pre 7th Century 'smith'. This was a vital profession in the medieval world. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ecceard Smid, which was dated circa 975, The Olde English Byname Register, Durham, during the reign of King Edward, the Martyr, 975 - 979. 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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