This interesting name, with variant spellings Olliver and Ollivier, was introduced into England by the Normans, and was symbolically associated with the olive branch, an emblem of peace, from the Old French "olivier". The name, however, originated with the Scandinavians as "Anleifr", and was a compound of "an", ancestor, plus "leifr", remains; hence, "ancestor remains". The variant form Oliver was popular throughout Europe in the Middle Ages having been borne by one of Charlemangne's Paladins, friend to Roland of "Chanson de Roland" fame."Oliverus" (without surname) was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086, and the surname first appears in Scotland (see below). One Jordanus Oliueri, was recorded in the 1206 Pipe Rolls of Cornwall, and a John Oliuer (note "u" for "v") in Charters of Soltre Hospital, Scotland (1250). One of the most notable namebearers of the several mentioned in the "Dictionary of National Biography" was William Oliver (1659 - 1716), who accompanied the Monmouth's expedition as surgeon, and was physician to the fleet, 1693 - 1702. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter Olifer, which was dated circa 1180, witnessed a gift to the Bishop of Glasgow, recorded in the "Episcopal Records of Glasgow", during the reign of King William, known as "The Lion" of Scotland, 1165 - 1214. 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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