This very interesting surname has been recorded in Ireland since at least the 18th century and probably earlier. Surprisingly Olphert does not appear in Maclysaghts famous records of Irish surnames, a very rare ommission. It is almost certain that the original name holders were granted lands by William of Orange, although sadly many Irish records for the period from 1660 - 1760 were lost in the destruction of the Public Records Office, Dublin in 1922. The surname origin is both Dutch and German, and is believed to be a variant form of the Old Norse 'Oleifr' as in the modern 'Olaf' plus a suffix which was originally 'ard' to imply a diminutive 'Son of Olaf', or 'Little Olaf'. As such the name is first recorded in Scotland in 1141 as David Olifard. There is no argument though that the Irish nameholders came from the continent, the name being well recorded there. Examples include Dircks Olphert of Achlum, Friesland, on December 24th 1673, and Heere Olphert of Witmarsum, Friesland on May 12th 1689, whilst in Ireland Charlotte, daughter of John and Priscilla Olphert was christened at Down, Downpatrick, on December 1st 1762. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Diever Olphert, which was dated January 1st 1605, married Fiepke Foppes at Needen, Netherlands, during the reign of Philip William of Nassau, 1584 - 1618. 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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