Recorded in the varied spellings of Massingberd, Massingbird, and Massingburd, the name is locational and derives from some now lost medieval place in Lincolnshire. It is possible that the site is now under the sea, but certainly it is recorded in the Middle Domesday Book (published in 1873, but derived from 14th century recordings), although without an exact location. Like Massingham in Norfolk, the name is tribal, the "Masse" people being Olde English pre 8th century, the name probably descending from "meos" which in this case would mean wetland or fen. The translation is probably the fortress (burg) of the Masse people (ing). What is certain is that as early as the time of Edward 1, the original name holder had been granted a Coat of Arms, making it one of the earliest on record. The blazon is a blue field with three quatrefoils, and in chief a boar passant gold, charged on the shoulder with a red cross. The latter is the original sign of a crusader or Knight Templar. The name, whilst rare is recorded throughout East Anglia in the different spellings. It was also one of the first names into America, one William Massingburd, having taken the oath of allegiance to King Charles 1, sailed to Virginia, New England on the barque Alice, in July 1635. Other examples include Frances, the daughter of William Massingberd, christened at the church of St. Martin and St Gregory, York on April 24th, 1754, and Mompesch Massingberd, who married Sarah Melwell at Holy Trinity Church, Kingston upon Hull, on July 20th 1830. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Lambert Massingberd, Knight, which was dated Circa 1280 a.d., in the Shirley Rolls of Chivalry, during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The hammer of the Scots," 1273 - 1307. 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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