This French surname of BOMBARD was a nickname meaning 'good companion' originally from the Old French BON (good) and PAR (equal fellow). Surnames having a derivation from nicknames form the broadest and most miscellaneous class of surnames, encompassing many different types of origin. The most typical classes refer adjectivally to the general physical aspect of the person concerned, or to his character. Many nicknames refer to a man's size or height, while others make reference to a favoured article of clothing or style of dress. Many surnames derived from the names of animals and birds. In the Middle Ages ideas were held about the characters of other living creatures, based on observation, and these associations were reflected and reinforced by large bodies of folk tales featuring animals behaving as humans. The earliest French hereditary surnames are found in the 12th century, at more or less the same time as they arose in England, but they are by no means common before the 13th century, and it was not until the 15th century that they stabilized to any great extent; before then a surname might be handed down for two or three generations, but then abandoned in favour of another. In the south, many French surnames have come in from Italy over the centuries, and in Northern France, Germanic influence can often be detected. A notable member of this name is Alain Louis BOMBARD born in l924. He was a French physician and marine biologist born in Paris. In l952 he set out across the Atlantic alone in his rubber dinghy 'L'Heretique' to prove his claim that shipwrecked castaways could sustain life on nothing more than fish and plankton. He landed at Barbados on 24th December l952 emaciated but vindicated in his theory. He started a marine laboratory at St.Malo for the study of the physiopathology of the sea.
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