This unusual surname has two distinct possible sources, each with its own history and derivation. Firstly, Foad may be of Old French origin, and a topographical name from residence by a stand of beech trees, deriving from "foet", a diminutive of the Old French "fo(u)", beech tree. Topographical names were among the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided obvious and convenient means of identification in the small communities of the Middle Ages. Foad may also be of Anglo-Saxon origin, and as such belong to that sizeable group of early European surnames gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. The derivation, in this instance, is from the Olde English pre 7th Century "fot", foot, originally denoting someone who was particularly swift of foot, such as a messenger or runner. Early examples of the surname include: Goduin Fot, noted in the Domesday Book of 1086 for Kent, with Richard Food and Thomas le Fod, recorded in a Kalendar of Documents for Essex, dated 1237 and 1262 respectively. The latter two examples show the common dulling of the final "t" to a "d". In the modern idiom the name is variously spelt: Foudd, Fude, Foad, Foat and Foot. On January 20th 1743, Joan, daughter of John Foad, was christened at St. George in the East, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Elfred Fode, which was dated 1221, in "Early Medieval Records of Norfolk", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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.