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Finch Genealogy and Finch Family History Information

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About the Finch surname

Last name: Finch This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, deriving from the Olde English pre 7th Century "fink" the finch bird, and has two possible interpretations. Firstly, it may be a metonymic occupational name for a breeder of finches or for one who caught finches and sold them as songsters. Job-descriptive surnames originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer and later became hereditary. The finch is a songbird, noted or his bright plumage, so it may also have originated as a nickname for a colourful person or one with a beautiful singing voice. The creation of surnames from nicknames was common practice in the Middle Ages, and many modern-day surnames derive from medieval nicknames referring to personal characteristics. The surname is first recorded in the mid 11th Century and can also be found in the variant forms Fink, Vink and Vinck. Gilbert le Finch is noted in the Curia Regis Rolls of Norfolk (1205). One Frances Finch was recorded as being in the Virginia Colony in 1620, before the arrival of the Pigrim Fathers in the same year. The Finch family have no less that eight Coats of Arms granted to them; one granted to the Earl of Aylesford is silver, with a black chevron between three griffins passant. The motto "Aperto vivere voto" translates as "To live without a wish concealed". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Godric Finc, which was dated 1049, in the "Olde English Byname Register", during the reign of King Edward the Confessor, 1042-1066. 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.