This famous medieval surname is recorded in over one hundred spellings, and found throughout Europe. These include examples such as Daud, Dewi, and Taffe, through to patronymics Davidge, Davidovich, and Davitashvili. It owes its popularlity to the Hebrew male given name "David" meaning "beloved", which as a given name has always been very popular with both the Jews and the Christians. The reasons are rather confused, but essentially the original King David, regarded as the greatest of the early kings of Israel, is held upto be a popular hero by both races. The popularity of the name throughout Europe followed the famous "crusades" of the 11th and 12th centuries, when successive generations of kings mounted expeditions to save the Holy Land for Christianity. All were unsuccessful, but returning soldiers and pilgrims fired by their experiences, gave biblical names to their children in commemoration of their father's exploits. David was one of the most popular. In addition the name was given a further boost by its adoption as the patron saint of Wales, and later because it was borne by two kings of Scotland, King David 1st, 1124 - 1153, and King David 11nd, 1329 - 1371. The first known recording of the surname anywhere in the world and in any spelling, was probably that of Robert David, recorded in the English charters known as the "Hundred Rolls" for the county of Leicestershire, in the year 1278. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" in spelling. This has often lead to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

Surnames reference. 2013.

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