This surname of OLD was a nickname 'the older, the senior', not necessarily implying old age, but rather used to distinguish an older from younger bearer of the given name. 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 name was derived from the Old English word EALD. Early records of the name mention Edward Olde, who was documented in County Yorkshire, and appears to be the first of the name on record. John le Olde, 1311 County Gloucestershire. Thomas le Old, County Somerset, 1379. John Old married Mary Duncan at St. George's Chapel, Mayfair, London in the year of 1750. Originally the coat of arms identified the wearer, either in battle or in tournaments. Completely covered in body and facial armour the knight could be spotted and known by the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped garment which enveloped him. Between the 11th and 15th centuries it became customary for surnames to be assumed in Europe, but were not commonplace in England or Scotland before the Norman Conquest of 1066. They are to be found in the Domesday Book of 1086. Those of gentler blood assumed surnames at this time, but it was not until the reign of Edward II (1307-1327) that second names became general practice for all people. A later record of the name states that in 1608 'July 7, was delivered into Christe's hospital, a child that was laid at Sir William Paddie's dore, who is named Elizabeth Aulde'. John Ault and Mary Williams were married at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1788. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884
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