This unusual surname derives from the Old French personal name Rainbert. It is ultimately a name of Germanic origin composed of the elements 'ragin', counsel and 'berht', bright, famous. An early record of the use of Rainbert as a first name is in the Domesday Book for 1086 as Rainbertus Falndrensis. It was brought to England by the Normans. Sometimes the name 'rainbert' was confused with 'rainbird', a popular name for a plover. Such a confusion in a wide distribution of 'Rainbird' wherever Rainbert was common. Variant forms of the surname include Raynbird, Rainbert, Ram(b)art. In Essex church registers one Edward Raineberd was recorded as marrying Clemence Hadeslye on November 15th 1544 at Great Canfield. Another marriage recorded was for John Rainbird to Kateren Standlardge on May 26th 1611 at Farham, also in Essex. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Reinberd, which was dated 1208, 1212, Curia Regis Rolls, Middlesex, 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.