This is a famous surname. Recorded in many forms including Port, Porte, Portman, Porta, Porte, Porti, Portis, Portilla, Portillo, and others and recorded throughout the continent of Europe since at least the 13th century, it has has three known origins. The first is Norman-French, being locational from a place called Port-en- Bessin in the department of Calvados. The earliest recording from this source occurs towards the end of the 11th century, being that of Henry de Port in the Winton Rolls of Hampshire in England in the year 1115.Secondly the name can be topographic for someone who lived by or perhaps was responsible for, the operation of the gates of a town. The derivation is from the Roman (Latin) word 'porta' meaning a gateway or entrance. An early example from this source is that of Hugh de la Porta who in the year 1096 gave land to the church of St. Peter at Gloucester. Thirdly the surname may derive from the Latin word "portus" meaning a harbour, and hence again either locational for obne who lived at such a place or occupational for a worker in a harbour. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of Henry Portman, in the Assize Rolls of the county of Somerset, in the year 1225. This was during the reign of King Henry 111rd of England 1216 - 1272. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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