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BEARD Family History

This unusual name is of Anglo-Saxon and Old French origin, and is one of the oldest recorded in England appearing in the Domesday Book of 1086 in its Old French (Norman) form of "Hugo a la Barbe", in Hampshire. As a surname it has grown very naturally from a nickname for a wearer of a beard, derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century "beard", and it often appears in early records in a prepositional form, such as Thomas Onelabarbe ("Thomas with the beard", 1280, Somerset). Between the 12th and 16th Centuries it was usual for men to be clean shaven, so the wearer of a beard was conspicuous during the crucial period for surname formation.

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