The English and French surname of VADAS was derived from the Old English word 'geward' a locational name, the dweller by the ford or small stream. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land. The persistence of using the name as a personal one during the 11th and 12th centuries was due, in part, to the legendary tale of WADE, originally a sea-giant, dreaded and honoured by the coast tribe of the north sea and the Baltic. The name is also spelt WADE, WAIDE, WADEMAN, VAD, LEGUE, DUGUE, VADET, VADE and VADON, to name but a few. Early records mention Wado (without surname) listed as a tenant in the Domesday Book of 1086. Wade le Fol appears in County Cornwall in 1297, and Godwin Gilbert Wade was documented in 1266 in County Essex. Johannes Wade of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Following the crusades in Europe in the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries, a need was felt for a family name to replace the one given at birth, or in addition to it. This was recognized by those of noble birth, and particularly by those who went on the Crusades, as it added prestige and practical advantage to their status. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function of 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 draped and flowing garment worn over the armour. A notable member of the name was George Wade (1673-1748) the English soldier. He entered the army in 1690 and by 1743 he was commander in chief of George II's forces in England. Most of the European surnames in countries such as England, Scotland and France were formed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The process had started somewhat earlier and had continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the tenth and eleventh centuries people did not have surnames, whereas by the fifteenth century most of the population had acquired a second name.
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