The surname of OSBOURN was originally derived from the Old English word Osburne - a baptismal name 'the son of Osbern'. A favourite font name during the 11th and 12th centuries. It was found in England before the Norman Conquest of 1066. Early records of the name mention Osbern (without surname) listed as a tenant in the Domesday Book of 1086. Osbernus filius Willelmi was documented in Berkshire in 1221, and Henry Osborn was recorded in 1260 in County Cambridge. Thomas Osborne of County Somerset was documented during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377, and Osbairn Dawson of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. In many parts of central and western Europe, hereditary surnames began to become fixed at around the 12th century, and have developed and changed slowly over the years. As society became more complex, and such matters as the management of tenure, and in particular the collection of taxes were delegated to special functionaries, it became imperative to distinguish a more complex system of nomenclature to differentiate one individual from another. Later instances of the name mention George Avis who married Ann Osburn at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1790. William Osburne and Elizabeth Yates were married at the same church in the year 1798. Frances Phillips and Lucy Orsborne were married at St. James's, Clerkenwell, London in 1797. The name has numerous variant spellings which include OSBORN, OSBOURNE, OSBURN, OSBAND, USBORNE and HOSBURN. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield and embroidered on his surcoat, the flowing and draped garment worn over the armour. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error.
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