History does funny things to names and this is a good example. A popular medieval job was the keeping of geese, and this occupation, added to local dialects has created some of the most interesting, variant name spellings in the English language. These spellings include Gossard, Gishard, Gozzard, Gozzet, Jessard, Jezard, Jezzard, etc., the only spelling not to use being the goose-herd or gos-hierde in the Olde English. The following examples illustrate the name development, John Goshurde (1327, Subsidy Rolls of Sussex), Joan Gassard, christened on May 1620 at St. Margaret's, Westminster, William Gassard was also christened in the same Church on September 3rd 1625 and William Gazard was christened on June 9th 1678 at St. Sepulchre, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter Goseherd, which was dated 1236, in the "Hayshire Assize Court", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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