This interesting surname, widely recorded in Cornish Church Registers from the mid 16th Century under the variant spellings Kevern, Keveryn and Keverne, is of early medieval Cornish origin, and is a locational name from the parish of St. Keverne on the Lizard peninsula. Recorded as "Sanctus Achebrannus" in the Domesday Book of 1086; as "Sancto Akaverano" in the 1201 Feet of Fines; and as "St. Kaveran" in 1236, the patron of this parish (though a rather shadowy figure), is thought to be identical with the Irish saint, Accobran, and the place is probably named with the Old Irish "Aed Coghran". Cornish parish names to a great extent consist of, or contain, saints' names, the history and origin of which are very obscure, but it has been possible in several instances to adduce Breton, Welsh, or Irish parallels. Locational surnames, such as this, were originally given to local landowners, and the lord of the manor, and especially as a means of identification to those who left their birthplace to settle elsewhere. On March 12th 1586, Jenet Keverne was christened at Landewednack, Cornwall; Tristram Keverne witnessed a christening at Saint Keverne, on January 9th 1599; and on October 6th 1871, the birth of Ernest Jesse Keveren was registered at Devonport, Devonshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Oliver Keverne, which was dated January 21st 1578, a christening witness at Landewednack, Cornwall, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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