This is a very rare form of the ancient Italian locational surname 'Pavia' from the town of the same spelling in Lombardy. Etymologically 'Puvia', is described as being 'dialectal', in that as the original name holders moved away from the town of 'Pavia' the spelling became subject to the vagaries of local dialects. In Italy the situation is complex as the national recording of hereditary surnames is a recent development. Not until 1860 did Italy become a unified country, prior to that the individual States operated their own bureaucracy, and the registration of births and deaths, was entirely left to the church, often with haphazard esults. What is certain is that this surname is recorded in almost every European country, suggesting that 'Pavia' or its inhabitants, were renowned for some special product or service in medieval times. These variants include Pavier (Swisse), Pavie (France), Pavey and Pavy (England), Puve (Germany), as well as Pavoni, Pavese, Puvia, and Pavinese in Italy. It is said that the name derives from an ancient pre-Christian word for a peach tree, which has some logic, and that 'Pavia' was a popular female name in medieval France, but now seems to be extinct. However it may also be a development of the Roman 'paveo' - meaning a hard causeway. Early recording examples include Guiseppe Pavia (also recorded as Pavese), who married Catarina Piacentino at Pavia, Lombardy, on June 14th 1626. The very distinguished Coat of Arms granted in Udine, Lombardy, has a black field charged with two bars, and in chief a leopard courant - all gold. This describes a person of stature (black), a military commander (bars), and a valiant warrior (the Leopard). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Catharina Pavia, which was dated January 15th 1581, at Geneve, Swisse, during the reign of Emperor Rudolf 11 of the Holy Roman Empire, 1576 - 1612. 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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