Recorded as Caris, Kares, Karis, Karijs, Karys and others, this surname is probably medieval Dutch. However if so the ultimate origin is Roman from the personal name Macarious meaning splendid or similar, and the name of one of the ancient clans of Rome. There are also strong suggestions that an alternative origin is the popular 5th century name Carl or Karl derived from ceorl meaning man or yeoman, and which in Central Europe is also recorded as Kares and Karis. So there are at least two possibilities, and without definite proof in either case. What we do know is that the earliest surviving surname recordings anywhere in the world are from England and Germany, two countries which above others have had a passion for recording history. These early recordings include Frethesant Cherl, in the Subsidy Tax rolls of the county of Cambridgeshire, England, in 1221, whilst in Germany Rudolf Karle was recorded as a klosterdiener or monastery worker in the registers of the town of St Bastien, in the year 1275. In The Netherlands we have early church register recordings which include Maria Caris who married Jan Corneles at Amersterdam, on June 10th 1623, and in Hungary Georg Kares who was christened at Kukullo Megye, on August 14th 1763. The first recorded spelling of the family name anywhere in the world is believed to be that of Osbert Cherle, which was dated 1193, in the Pipe Rolls of the county of Warwickshire, England. This was during the reign of King Richard 1st, known as "The Lionheart", 1189 - 1199.
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