Despite its slightly Irish appearance, like Odell, a name of similar background, the origin is late medieval English, and is locational. Obern derives from the village of Oborne in Dorset, whose origins long pre date the 1086 Domesday Book, it being recorded in the spelling of "Womburnham" in 974 A.D. At the time of Domesday, the spelling had changed to "Wocburne", and in 1227 to "Wuburn". The present spelling is late medieval, however, the original meaning is the crooked stream, derived from "woh", plus "burna", stream. Habitational names were formed when members of a village moved to another area, taking as their identification the name of their former village. As education was primitive and dialect played a large part, spelling forms were often erratic. In this case, examples of the name recordings include: Elizabeth Oborn, who married John Bleare at Kilmington, Somerset, on January 24th 1636; Jenny Obern (also known as Jenny Barnes), at Yarlington, on August 22nd 1790; whilst Mary Jane Obern, the daughter of George Obern, was christened at St. Peter and St. Paul, Bath, on August 24th 1830. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Oborne, which was dated August 28th 1613, a christening witness at Gillingham, Dorset, during the reign of King James 1 of England and V1 of Scotland, 1603 - 1625. 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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