The surname of PROPPS was a baptismal name 'the son of Ap-Probert' an ancient Welsh personal name. This is the name of a Welsh family said to be directly descended from Ynyr, the King of Gwent. Jenkin Ap Howell was a courtier of Richard, Duke of York in 1436, his son was Robert ap Jenkin (died 1509) and his grandson was Thomas Probert (died 1536). Other records of the name mention AP-PROBERT (without surname) who appears in Wales in 1468. Ellice Ap-Probert who was documented in the year 1540 in London. "Item given to Davyd ap-Robert" listed in the Privy Purse Expenses of Princess Mary in 1544. Joseph Probert and Sarah Owen were married at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in the year 1792. The bulk of European surnames in countries such as England and France were formed in the 13th and 14th centuries. The process started earlier and continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the 11th century people did not have surnames, whereas by the 15th century they did. The name is rendered in English as Robert and this name was originally derived from the Germanic personal name, composed of the elements HROD and BERHT. The name was found occasionally in England before the Conquest, but in the main it was introduced into England by the Normans, and quickly became popular among all classes of society. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. Before the 1066 Conquest names were rare in England, the few examples found were mainly adopted by those of the clergy or one who had taken holy orders. In 1086 the conquering Duke William of Normandy commanded the Domesday Book. He wanted to know what he had and who held it, and the Book describes Old English society under its new management in minute detail. It was then that surnames began to be taken for the purposes of tax-assessment. The nobles and the upper classes were first to realise the prestige of a second name, but it was not until the 15th century that most people had acquired a second name.
It has long been a matter of doubt when the bearing of coats of arms first became hereditary and it was not until the Crusades that Heraldry came into general use. Men went into battle heavily armed and were difficult to recognise. It became the custom for them to adorn their helmets with distinctive crests, and to paint their shields with animals and the like. Coats of arms accompanied the development of surnames, becoming hereditary in the same way.
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