This interesting and uncommon name is of French, Breton, origin, being one of the patronymic forms of the Breton personal name 'Harvey' or 'Hervey'. This was introduced into England by the Breton followers of William the Conqueror after 1066, in the form 'Aeruiu' or 'Haerviu', and is composed of the elements 'haer', battle, carnage, and 'vy', worthy. The name was usually given in its Galicized form, 'Herve', and is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 in the Latin form of 'Herveus'. As a surname, it appears first in Suffolk, in Records from the Abbey of Bury St.Edmunds, where one William Hervi is recorded in 1190. The patronymic form is not recorded until the 17th Century (see below), and is still a rare surname, found most frequently in East Anglia. The marriage of James Harverson and Mary Howell was recorded at West Acre in Norfolk on November 4th 1799. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Mary Harveson (marriage to John Clearke), which was dated June 29th 1628, All Hallows, London Wall, London, during the reign of King Charles 1, 'The Martyr', 1625-1649. 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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