The surname of RIVERA was a locational name 'of de Rivers' a spot in Normandy, France. Many of the French place names denote the seat of noble families. The name has many variant spellings which include RIVIERE, RIVARIA, REVERE, RIVA, RIVES, LARIVE, DELARIVE, RIBES, RIVANO, RIBA and RIVET, to name but a few. A Huguenot family named Riviere settled in England around 1689. They were originally merchants from Nerac, Gascony. Revere, originally De Revoir, is the name of another Huguenot family, descended from Apollos De Revoire, who settled in America in the early 18th century. He was a silversmith, as was his son, the American patriot Paul Revere (1735-1818). Early records of the name mention RIUARIA (without surname) who was listed in the Domesday Book of 1086, and Walter de la Rivere appears in 1150 in County Yorkshire. Richard de Rivers appears in 1273 in County Devon. Margaret de Rivers, County Essex was documented during the reign of Edward I (1272-1307). Simon de Rivers, was documented in County Suffolk, ibid. Baptised. George Rivers, a foundling, by the New River, at St. James's, Clerkenwell, London in 1709. William Rivers married Ann Gilbert at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in the year 1794. 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. 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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