This surname BACK is of twofold origin both of the local group of names and means 'at the back' i.e. one who resided in a cottage lying behind some others or from the Old English BAECE, BECE, meaning a stream. In the middle ages it became customary for a man to be named after the village he came from, or from where he held his land. This name identified his whole family, and followed him wherever he moved. The name was also baptismal 'the son of Bagge or Bagg'. It occurs frequently in early records, and was probably brought into England in the wake of the Norman Conquest of 1066. Early records of the name mention John atte Back of the County of Somerset in 1042-1066. Godwine Bace of the County of Somerset in 1055. Helias Bagge of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Walter Bagge was documented in County Somerset in the reign of Edward III (1327-1377). Edward Back and Alice Fowler were married at St. George's Chapel, Mayfair, London in 1754. The bulk of European surnames in countries such as England and France were formed in the 13th and 14th centuries. The process started earlier and continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the 11th century people did not have surnames, whereas by the 15th century they did.The acquisition of surnames in Europe during the past eight hundred years has been affected by many factors, including social class and social structure, naming practices in neighbouring cultures, and indigenous cultural tradition. On the whole, the richer and more powerful classes tended to acquire surnames earlier than the working classes and the poor, while surnames were quicker to catch on in urban areas than in more sparsely populated rural areas. These facts suggest that the origin of surnames is associated with the emergence of bureaucracies. As long as land tenure, military service, and fealty were matters of direct relationship between a lord and his vassals, the need did not arise for fixed distinguishing epithets to mark out one carl from another. But as societies became more complex, and as such matters as the management of tenure and in particular the collection of taxes were delegated to special functionaries, it became imperative to have a more complex system of nomenclature to distinguish one individual from another reliably and unambiguously.
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