Edgar is a Scots-English surname Edgar which is patronymic in origin as it is derived from the ancient English given name Eadgar. Eadgar is a compound word comprised of the prefix “ead” which translates to prosperity or fortuitous and the suffix “gar” which translates to spear. This was also the name of two Kings of England and one King of Scotland. Edgar the Peaceful was King of England from 942 until 975. Edgar the Aetheling who was the last member of the Anglo-Saxon royal house to reign, was King of England from 1051 until 1126. Edgar of Scotland reigned as King of Scotland from 1074 until 1107.
Surnames in Britain prior to the Norman conquest were largely unheard of. In the small settlements and villages which existed during earlier times, residents found little need for surnames as everyone in these communities new each other and a given name would usually suffice. However, with the passage of time, population growth and expansions of communities as villages gave way to towns and cities, it became necessary to add a qualifier to a people's names to distinguish them, one from another. Therefore one person may have been identified by their given name plus their occupation while another may have been identified by their given name and one of their parent's names. The introduction of surnames by the Norman aristocracy after the invasion seemed to be the next logical step in this evolution. There was a endless supply from which surnames could be formed, in addition to the use of patriarchal or matriarchal names or reference to the individuals occupation, there were things such as defining physical traits, a familiar geographical location or a topographical landmark found near the individuals home or birthplace, the name of the village in which the person lived, and so much more. Soon, surnames would come not just to represent an individual but whole families.
There often exists variations in spelling of many surnames, as with many given names which date back to the early centuries. The variation in spelling of both given and surnames during this time period can be attributed to a lack of continuity regarding guidelines for spelling which was compounded by the diversity of languages in use in European countries at this time. The variations in the spelling of the surname include but not limited to; Edgar; Eger; Egarr; Egar; Eagger; Edgair; and Eager, among others.
The use of surnames also served a practical purpose, the practice allowed for more accuracy in record keeping of censuses, taxation, and immigration. One of the earliest records of any variation of this surname is that of William Algar which appears in the Assize tax rolls dated 1221. These rolls, were a series of census and tax records kept by the English Treasury by order of King Henry III, with the oldest dating back seven hundred years to the 12th century. They hold the distinction of being the oldest consecutive set of records detailing English governance in the United Kingdom. These Some of the early immigrants to America bearing the surname or any variation of the spelling was Charles Edgar who arrived in 1642 and settled in Virginia. Mary Edgar landed and settled in Virginia in 1652 and John Edgar arrived and settled in Maryland in 1666.
There were also many immigrants to the British Common Wealth countries of Canada, Australia, and New Zealand bearing the surname Edgar. John Edgar landed in 1784 and settled in Kingston, Ontario. Anne Edgar arrived in 1854 and settled in South Australia. William and Ann Edgar along with their children, Elizabeth, Jacob, and Anne arrived in 1875 and settled in Bluff, New Zealand.
Worldwide, the highest concentration of people with the surname Edgar are found in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. By state, the largest percentile of those with the surname Edgar live in Arkansas. Georgia, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
There are many persons of note who bear the surname Edgar such as, British born diplomat, Christopher George Edgar.
Edgar serves as the ambassador to Cambodia for the European Union. He has also served as; the British Ambassador to Cambodia, Macedonia, and Uzbekistan; and Consul General in St. Petersburg; and was posted at the British Embassy in Moscow. In recognition of his service, Edgar was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire.