This very interesting surname is believed to be a Devonian form of the ancient Oliver, also recorded as Olivier, Olliver, Oliver etc. It was introduced into both England and Scotland after the 1066 Norman Invasion. There is some uncertainty about the true origin, in that whilst the spelling form since 1066 has been French and indicating an association with the olive tree, and therefore probably locational for one who lived at an olive orchard, it may well be that the spelling is a dialectal of the Norse-Viking 'Olifr'. This translates as 'the honourable ancestor' (or similar), and was the name of a famous pre 9th century king and saint of Norway. The surname as 'Oliver' is found throughout Britain, but as 'Olver' does not seem to have been recorded before 1665 when Richard Olver married Rebeckah Hihhins at St Petrocks Church, Exeter. This Richard Olver may be Richard Oliver, christened at Totnes, Devon, on February 9th 1633. The name is recorded in London on March 3rd 1779 when John, the son of Henry Olver was christened at All Hallows, London Wall. The coat of arms has a red field, charged with the blazon of a mullet (knights spur) between three crescents, all silver, indicating victory over the infidels. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter Olifer, which was dated 1180, a witness at the court of the Bishop of Glasgow, during the reign of King William "The Lyon", 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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