This interesting surname is a patronymic form of the Old Norse personal name "Anleifr", or "Olaf", which is composed of the elements "ans", god and "leifr", a relic. The name was a common Scandinavian one and became popular in Northern Scotland and Ireland, both countries receiving Scandinavian Colonists at an early date. During the Middle Ages, the name continued to enjoy popularity partly as a result of the fame of St. Olaf, King of Norway, who brought Christianity to his country (circa 1015). In the modern idiom the surname has many spellings including Olufsen, Olesen, Ohlsen, Olsson, and Ovesen. On September 26th 1677, Bernard Olsen married Martha Willis, at St. Katherine by the Tower, London. Mary, daughter of Bernard and Martha Olsen was christened at St. Dunstan's, Stepney on November 26th 1683. The christening of Charles, son of Charles and Margaret Olsen took place on November 24th 1294, at St. Anne Soho, Westminster. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Olef, which was dated 1275, in the "Subsidy Rolls, Worcestershire", during the reign of King Edward 1st, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 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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