This interesting surname is predominantly of Scottish origin, and is a locational name from Alves in Morayshire. It is usually pronounced as one syllable, the "a" sounded long as in "alms". The placename is believed to have been a derivative of the Gaelic "all", white. During the Middle Ages when migration for the purpose of job-seeking was becoming more common, people often took their former village name as a means of identification, thus resulting in a wide dispersal of the name. The surname is first recorded in the latter half of the 13th Century (see below). Alexander Alves was admitted burgess of Aberdeen in 1406, and Bessie Alves was a witness in Elgin (1661). Alexander Alves and David Alves were church elders in the parish of Alves in 1685. In some instances the surname may be of Portuguese origin, and is a patronymic form of the personal name "Alvaro", composed of the Germanic elements "all", all, with "wer", true. One Robert Alves (1745 - 1794), was head-master at Banff grammar school. He taught classics and modern languages in Edinburgh, and also published poems, and literary history. A Coat of Arms granted to the family is a silver shield, on a blue chevron between three green trefoils slipped, three silver mullets, a black bordure, the Crest being a gold garb. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter de Alveys, which was dated 1263, in the "Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland", during the reign of King Alexander 111 of Scotland, 1249 - 1286. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

Surnames reference. 2013.

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