This is an Old English personal name, from "Eadward", meaning "prosperity Guard" from the elements "ead" for prosperity, fortune and "W(e)ard" guard. The name spread from England to the continent, probably influenced by the fame of the two canonized kings of England, Edward the Martyr (962 - 979) and Edward the Confessor (1004 - 1066), and of course this factor was contributory to the popularity of the name in England. It was first recorded in the Anglo Saxon Chronicle as "Eadweard" circu 800 AD. "Edwards" (plural) means either "son of Edward or sometimes Servant of Edward". The first recording of Edward as a surname is William Edward, 1219, in the Suffolk Pipe Rolls. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Edunardus. which was dated 1086, in the Domesday Book, London. during the reign of King William 1, known as "The Conqueror", 1066 - 1087. 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.