Recorded in England in the spelling of Volante, Volonte, and Volant, this surname is of ancient French, and (usually) Huguenot protestant origins. It would seem to have been first recorded in England in the 18th century after the 1685 repeal of the 1580 'Edict of Nantes' by which protestants were permitted some freedoms in catholic France. The name is from the word 'volans' and it means literally 'to fly'. Some researchers believe it to be a nickname for a fickle or flighty person, but the explanation is almost certainly job descriptive, and describes a rider or driver of a vehicle, one who made it fly! Early French recordings are difficult to find, many registers were destroyed in the 1792 rebellion, when the church, even the catholic one, was forcibly closed down. We are able to show an example from the Department of Meurthe-et-Moselle, the original 'home' of the surname. English recording examples include John Volant, who married Sarah Chis (?) at St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, on April 18th 1727, Thomas and Rebecca Volante, witnesses at St Mary's, Bermondsey, on February 19th 1804, and Venanzio Volonte, a witness at St Martins in the Field, Westminster on November 1st, 1812. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Nicholas Volant, which was dated February 11th 1676, married at Bicqueley, Meurther-et-Moselle, during the reign of King Louis X1V, of France, known as the 'Sun King', 1643 - 1715. 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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