Recorded as Culver, Colver, Kulver and Kulvear, this interesting and unusual surname has two possible origins. The first and most likely being a medieval English occupational name for a keeper of doves. This is from the Old English pre seventh century word "culfre", meaning pigeon or dove, from the Latin "columba". This became a popular name among early Christians because the dove was considered to be the symbol of the Holy Spirit. Secondly the surname may have originated as a nickname for someone who had a mild temper or a mild and gentle disposition, or given the robust humour of the medieval times, the complete reverse! The name is also found in Culverhouse, which means a dovecote. Early examples of the surname recording include William Culvere or Culvert in the Hundred Rolls of Hereford in 1273, and John Culvard or Culverd in the same records. William Colver was christened at St. Mary Abbots, Kensington, on May 30th 1563, whilst at the church of St. Mary Somerset also in London, Peter Culver married Jone Gill on February 7th, 1590. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard atte Kulverhuse, which was dated 1266, in the tax rolls known as the 'Feet of Fines' of Essex, during the reign of King Henry 111rd of England, 1216 - 1272. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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