This name has three known origins. The first being locational from Port-en-Bessin in Calvados (Normandy). The first recording from this source occurs towards the end of the 11th century. The name may also be topographic for someone who lived near the gates of a town deriving from the Olde English pre 7th century "port" meaning a "gateway" or "entrance". In 1096, one Hugh de la (of the) Port gave land to the church of St. Peter at Gloucester. Finally, the name may derive from the Medieval English "port" (or the Latin "portus" meaning a "harbour" or "haven"). The name in this instance was given to a dweller in a harbour town. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Hugo de Port which was dated 1084, in the "Geld Roll of Devonshire" during the reign of King William 1, known as "The Conqueror" 1066 - 1087 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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