A medieval job descriptive metonymic surname for a "Maker of leather Bottles, Cups, and Mugs," The name derives from the Olde French "Gourde" - a word introduced by the Normans after 1066. Gourd or Goard was originaly spelt Gourdemaker, as in Henry le Gourdemaker of the Yorkshire Pipe Rolls, C 1327, but like many such names the original speling was quickly foreshortened. However, one of the earliest names into America was Jean Gourdeman, a French or Flemish farmer and his wife and five children, who was given special permission to settle in Virginia in 1621. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Martin le Gourdmaker. which was dated C.1320, A Freeman of York. during the reign of King Edward II, Edwarad of Caernafon, 1307 - 1327. 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.