Recorded in England in the spelling of Volante, Volonte, and Volant, this very interesting surname is of ancient French, and Italian origins. It would seem to have been first recorded in England in the 18th century after the 1685 repeal of the 'Edict of Nantes' and probably has some Huguenot ancestry. The surname derives from the Latin word 'volare' and in this context translates literally as 'to fly'. Some researchers believe that it is 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 continental recordings are erratic, many registers were destroyed in the 1792 - 1815 Napoleonic Wars, when the churches were often forcibly closed down. We are however able to show examples both from France, ( the Department of Meurthe-et-Moselle ) as below, and from Italy, where Gaetano Volante and his wife Mariantonia Iannotta, were witnesses at Prata Sannita, Caserta, on October 7th 1863. A Coat of Arms was granted to Volante of Seville, this being a black two headed eagle displayed on a green field, inside a blue border, charged with eight gold fleur de lis. 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, who 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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