This interesting surname is of early medieval English origin, and is a diminutive of the baptismal name "Babb". The medieval female given name "Babb" is a pet form of Barbara, deriving from the Greek term "barbaros" meaning "foreigner", which was borne by an enormously popular but almost certainly non-existent saint, who according to legend was imprisoned in a tower and later put to death by her own father for refusing to recant her Christian beliefs. Babb may also be a nickname from the Middle English "bab(e)", baby. However, a more probable source is from the Olde English pre 7th Century personal name "Babba", of uncertain origin, found in several placenames, including Babbacombe in Devon, and Babington in Somerset. The suffix "-cock", applied to a young lad who strutted proudly like a cock, and soon became a generic term for a youth, and was attached with hypocoristic force to the short forms of many medieval given names. Alwinus Babb is noted in the 1198 Feet of Fines of Sussex. On July 26th 1649, the marriage of Elizabeth Babcock and Robert Holiday took place in Snaith, Yorkshire, and the marriage of Margaret Babcock and Thomas Thornley took place at Manchester Cathedral, Lancashire, on November 17th 1751. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Edward Babcock, which was dated November 16th 1578, marriage to Janet Spencer, at Halifax, Yorkshire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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.

Surnames reference. 2013.

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