Recorded in many forms including Olive, Olivie, Olivet and Olivey, this is a surname recorded throughout Europe. The derivation is from the Roman (Latin) word "oliva", which does actually mean the olive tree and its fruit. Since ancient times these have been regarded as a symbol of peace. Legend also links the olive branch with Noah and the Dove - a symbol of God's reconcilation with man after the Great Flood. The Italian Saint Oliva, whose feast day falls on June 3rd, is regarded as the patroness of olive crops. The personal name is first recorded in England as 'Olyve', in the registers known as 'The catalogue of ancient deeds' for the county of Northumberland in 1159, and it is probable that the name mainly owes its popularity to the Crusaders of the early medieval period. These people on their return from the always unsuccessful task of trying to free the Holy Land from the Muslims, gave 'biblical' names to their children in honour of the fathers deeds. In this case early examples of the surname recording include: Margaret Olive in the Hundred Rolls of Shropshire, for the year 1273, and Jacques Olivie was recorded at the Huguenot French church, Threadneedle Street, in the city of London, on April 25th 1630. On Christmas Day 1692, William Ollive and Ann Roberts were married at the church of St. Katherine's by the Tower (of London), and Isaac Olivey married Elizabeth Cumbes at St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, on June 20th 1852. Throughout the centuries surnames in every country have continued to "develop", often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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