This unusual and interesting surname is of Old French origin, introduced into England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The surname is locational in origin, from any of the various places in northern France called Vaux. The placename derives from the Old French plural form of "val", valley, which is "vaux", from the Latin "vallis". Locational surnames were developed when former inhabitants of a place moved to another area, usually to seek work, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace. Most early examples of the surname are found with the preposition "de", meaning of Vaux (Ralph de Vous, 1185, Yorkshire), but there are some, such as Agnes le Vaus (1275, Worcestershire), and Nicol le Vaus (1296, Sussex), which suggest that they derive from an uncomplimentary nickname for someone thought to be unreliable, derived from the Middle English "faus", false, untrustworthy. In southern England "v" was sometimes used instead of "f". The modern surname forms range from Vaux, Vaus(e) and Vauss, to Voas(e), Vose, Vass and Waus(s). Examples of the name from various Church Registers include: the marriage of Thomas Voase and Anne Steele at Batley in Yorkshire, on February 10th 1650, and the christening of Edward, son of Thomas Voase, at Formby in Lancashire, on April 30th 1669. A Coat of Arms granted to the family depicts a bend chequy gold and blue on a silver shield. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert de Vaux, which was dated 1086, in the Domesday Book of Essex, 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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