This interesting surname, with the modern variant Easterling, has three possible origins. Firstly, it may be a topographic name for someone who lived to the east of a main settlement, from the Middle English "easter", meaning eastern. This surname could also be a habitational name from a group of villages in Essex, which got their name from the Old English "eowestre", sheepfold. Thirdly, it may be a nickname for someone who had some connection with the festival of Easter, such as being born or baptized at Easter, from the Old English word "eastre", name given to a pagan festival. The earliest recording one finds for this surname dates from the 16th Century, (see below). Other early recordings of the name include a Simon Easter who was christened at St. Martin Pomeroy, London on April 5th 1640. One John, son of Henry Easter, was christened at St. Olave, Southwark, London on October 5th 1645. Mary Easter, daughter of Jacob and Frances was christened at St. Dunstan, Stepney London on September 9th 1649. An unusual bearer of the name was Alexander Hay Lord Easter Kennet (d. 1594) a Scottish judge and clerk to Scottish Privy Council, (1564). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Anna Easter, married to Rogerus Cauve, which was dated June 20th 1569, in the "church register at Hollingbourne, Kent", during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1607). 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.