This distinguished surname, of medieval Welsh origin, is a patronymic form of the Welsh male given name Ifan or Evan, itself coming from "Iohannes" through the colloquial "Iovannes", Latin forms of John. The forename John has enjoyed enormous popularity in Europe throughout the Christian era, being given in honour of St. John the Baptist, St. John the Evangelist, or the nearly one thousand other saints of the name. The ultimate derivation is from the Hebrew name "Yochanan" meaning "Jehovah has favoured (me with a son)" or "may Jehovah favour this child". The surname Evans emerges in the early part of the 16th Century (see below), and in the modern idiom takes the forms: Evans, Evens, Evins, Evance, Ifans, Ivings and Heavans. The name is well represented in the "Dictionary of National Biography" with over fifty entries, one of the most notable being Mary Ann Evans (1819 - 1880), who under the name of George Eliot, wrote "Silas Marner" and "Middlemarch", and many other popular works. William Evans, aged 23 yrs., who embarked from London on the ship "America" bound for Virginia in July 1635, was one of the earliest recorded namebearers to settle in the New World. A Coat of Arms granted to the Evans family of North Wales, descended from Rhirid Flaidd, circa 1070, is green, a chevron ermine between three silver wolve's erased, langued red. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Yevans, which was dated 1533, in the "Records of Monmathshire", Wales, during the reign of King Henry V111, known as "Bluff King Hal", 1509 - 1547. 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.