Recorded in a variety of forms including Finch, Fink, Vink and Vinck, and the more coloured Goldfinch, this is an English surname. It is of Olde English pre 7th Century origins and has two possible interpretations. Firstly, it may be a metonymic occupational name for a breeder of finches or for one who caught finches and sold them as songsters. Job-descriptive surnames originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer and later became hereditary. The finch and particularly the Goldfinch is a bird noted or its bright plumage, so it may also have originated as a nickname for a colourful person or one with a beautiful singing voice. The creation of surnames from nicknames was common practice in the Middle Ages. The surname is first recorded in the mid 11th Century and early examples include: Gilbert le Finch in the Curia Regis Rolls for the county of Norfolk in 1205, and Agnes Goldfinche, in the Hundred Rolls for the county of Oxford in 1273. Frances Finch was recorded as being in the Virginia Colony of New England in 1620, before the arrival of the Pigrim Fathers in the same year. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of Godric Finc. This was dated 1049, in the "Olde English Byname Register", during the reign of King Edward the Confessor, 1042-1066. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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