This is an ancient Breton or Poitov (French) and probably Huguenot surname which has been slightly anglicised to its present spelling suggesting that its first appearance in England was not too distant in the past. The name derives freom the Latin "Ripa" through the Olde French pre 1066 "Rive" and means "the dweller on the rivera bank". The name is Heraldic, the Coat of Arms being Silver and Blue divided horizantally, in chief two bends wavy, in base a Gold Lion Rampant. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Jean Rivaud. which was dated 1680, La Raffiniere, Poitov, France. during the reign of King Louis XIV of France, 1643 - 1715. 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.