This interesting and unusual surname with variant spelling Blanshard derives from two possible origins. Firstly it may be of French and English origin from the Old French word "blanc", plus the pejorative suffix "-ard", indicating a person characterized by a certain quality or a person who did something excess, hence a person of whitish hair (French "blanchart", Whitish). The name may also derive from a Germanic personal name composed of the elements "blanc", shining, white, beautiful, plus the second element "-hard" brave, hardy, strong. Hence the name may have been given to a person with the above characteristics. The personal name was recorded in 1180, in the Pipe Rolls of Devonshire when one Blanchard de Morba is mentioned. One William Blanchart was recorded in 1198, in the Pipe Rolls of Lincolnshire. William Isaac Blanchard (d. 1796) published two original systems of stenography. William Blancharel 1769-1835) a comedian, became manager of several provincial theatres. His son Edward Litt Laman (1820-1889) produced pantomine for Dury Lane for 35 years. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Blanchard, which was dated 1177, Pipe Rolls of Lincolnshire, during the reign of King Henry 11, "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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.