This interesting surname may derive from two possible sources. Firstly, it may be of English locational origin from a place called Altcar, in Lancaster, which was recorded as "Acrer" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and as "Altekar" in the Feet of Fines of 1251, and translates as the "marsh on the river Alt" from "Alt", a British river-name derived from the root of the Latin word "palus", muddy river, and the Middle English "kerr", bog, fen, from the Old Norse "kiarr", brushwood. The name may also derive from the Olde English pre 7th Century personal name "Ealhhere", of uncertain meaning, which was first recorded as "Alfgerus", "Aelger", and "Algerus" in the Domesday Book of Lincolnshire, Norfolk and Suffolk respectively. The surname first appears in the early 13th Century (see below). William de Altekar appeared in the Calendar of Letter Books of the City of London in 1341. The earliest record of the name in Lancashire is the christening of William, son of James Alker, at Ormskirk, on April 23rd 1561. Elizabeth Alker married Henry Wanley at St. Dunstan's, Stepney, London on April 2nd 1627. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Alker, which was dated 1212, in the "Curia Regis Rolls of Norfolk", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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.