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PORTER Family History

This interesting surname is of Old French origin, and has two possible sources; firstly, it may be an occupational name for the gatekeeper of a town, or a doorkeeper of a large house, deriving from the Middle English "porter", a development of the Old French "portier". Secondly, it may be an occupational name for a man who carried loads for a living, especially one who used his own muscle power rather than a beast of burden or a wheeled vehicle, from the Old French "porteo(u)r" to carry, convey. The surname is distinguished by being first recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 (see below), and early recordings include William le Portier (1190), in the Pipe Rolls of Berkshire, and Nicholas le Portur (1263), in "Middle English Occupational Terms" of Surrey...

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