Saturday, January 23, 2010

Surname Saturday: Bolle

The Bolle branch of my family has been investigated by a cousin of my father already, so a lot of it is known, although I am slowly going through the generations, checking his work and maybe finding something more. The branch this cousin has constructed counts ten generations (!) of Bolle's. I'm very happy so much work has already been done, because checking is so much easier than doing it all on your own, and the branches that haven't been done are challenging enough.

The Meertens Institute here in the Netherlands says the Bolle surname is a patronym

From surnameDB, this information about the surname:

This interesting name has a number of possible origins. The first of these is a Norman surname, and derives from the place called Bouelles in Seine Martime, being introduced into England sometime after the 1066 Norman Conquest. In this case the place derives its name from the Old Norman-French "boelle", meaning enclosure and specifically one cleared for agriculture. The recording of one Walter de Bowell in the 1275 Hundred Rolls of Hertfordshire is from this source.

Secondly, the modern surname, which can be found as Bolle, Bolles, Bowell, Bowells, Bowle and Bowles, may be Welsh in origin, from the patronymic form of the given name Howell. In that case the prefix 'ap' or 'ab' meaning 'son of' has over the centuries fused with Howell to create Powell, Powles, Bowell and Bowle(s).

Thirdly the surname may be a variant form of Bowler, an English medieval occupational name for a maker or seller of bowls and buckets. This occupation is a derivative of 'bolle' meaning 'a vessel for containing liquids'. Job-descriptive surnames originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and later became hereditary. Examples of the surname recording include James Boule in the 1297 register of accounts of the Duchy of Cornwall, and Thomas Bolles of Suffolk, who in 1528 was granted the following blazon of arms. A blue field, charged with three gold cups, out of which issue three boars heads couped. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John le Boule, which was dated 1296, in the Subsidy Rolls of the county of Sussex, during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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.

If the Meertens Institute is right that it's a patronym, then the second meaning of the surnameDB counts for the Dutch version of Bolle. It is likely, and also very interesting.

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