This surname of OUTLAW was an official name applied to one 'out of protection of the civil law'. During the Middle Ages the name perhaps meant more spiritually, one excommunicated. The earliest of the name on record appears to be Richard UTLAWE, who was documented in Bedford, England in the year 1273, and John OUTLAGH was recorded in Cambridge in 1322. Roger OUTLAWE was recorded during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377) and Richard OUTLAW was the rector of Necton, County Norfolk in 1661. 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. Among the humbler classes of European society, and especially among illiterate people, individuals were willing to accept the mistakes of officials, clerks and priests as officially bestowing a new version of their surname, just as they had meekly accepted the surname they had been born with. In North America, the linguistic problems confronting immigration officials at Ellis Island in the 19th century were legendary as a prolific source of Anglicization. A later record of the name includes The Ulverston News of December 4th 1886, which announced the marriage of Florence J. OUTLAW of Birmingham. It was not until the 10th century that modern hereditary surnames first developed, and the use of fixed names spread, first to France, and then England, then to Germany and all of Europe. In these parts of Europe, the individual man was becoming more important, commerce was increasing and the exact identification of each man was becoming a necessity. Even today however, the Church does not recognise surnames. Baptisms and marriages are performed through use of the Christian name alone. Thus hereditary names as we know them today developed gradually during the 11th to the 15th century in the various European countries. The associated coat of arms is recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. Registered at Little Wichingham, in County Norfolk. June, 1613.
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