This name derives from the Old French "blanc" meaning "white" and was originally given as a nickname to someone with (prematurely) white hair or a pale complexion. The ultimate origin of the name is the Old High German "blanc" translating as "bright, shining or beautiful". The surname is first recorded towards the end of the 12th Century, (see below). In the 1273, Hundred Rolls of Huntingdonshire and Cambridgeshire, the name is recorded respectively as Blaunche and Blanche. The spelling Blaunk appears in the "Letter Books of Cambridgeshire" (1293). On July 13th 1635 Elizabeth Blanch embarked from London on the ship, "Alice" bound for Virginia. She was one of the earliest recorded namebearers to enter America. The baptism of Sarah, daughter of Daniel Blanch, appears in the Registers of St. James' Church, Clerkenwell, London, - dated 1716. A Coat of Arms granted to a Blanch family is red, a cinquefoil pierced ermine, the Crest being a gold leopard's head guardant erased. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Nigellus Blanke, which was dated 1196, The Pipe Rolls of Leicestershire, during the reign of King Richard 1st, Richard the Lionheart, 1189 - 1199. 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.