This interesting surname is a topographical name for someone who lived to the west of a settlement, or a regional name for one who had migrated from further west, deriving from the Norwegian "vest" which is cognate to the Middle English, Middle High German "west" meaning "west". A number of families were granted coats of arms in Switzerland, Britain and Transylvanie. Amongst those was a coat of arms granted to a Vest family of Switzerland which is a shield of blue, with a silver arrow on a green verge, and a Veste (van der) family of Switzerland which is a shield of red with three silver circles, two in chief and one in base. The surname dates back to the mid 12th Century, (see below). Further recordings include one Jane West who was christened on April 29th 1567, at St. Gregory by St. Paul, London, and Elizabeth Vestes married William Odeon on April 2nd 1644, at St. Dunstan, Stepney. Thomas Vesty married Elizabeth Houmes in July 1654, in Leicester. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Maruice de West, which was dated 1152, "Cartularium Monasterii of St. Joseph Baptist of Colchester, Essex", during the reign of King Henry 11, "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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