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About the study
A study of the surname Alefounder, wherever and whenever it may appear.
There are no real variants of the name. Various spellings have been used, but not consistently over several generations, and sometimes not consistently by a single individual. The most frequent alternative spellings are Alfounder (particularly in the 17th century), Allfounder, Ailfounder and Alifounder.
The name originated in Essex or Suffolk, presumably being derived from the local official called an alefounder, aleconnor or ale-taster, appointed to oversee the brewing of ale and beer and to assess the quality and to regulate the price of the product.
Historical occurrences of the name
Noted individuals include the artist John Alefounder (1757-1794) and the 18th century mapmakers Thomas Alefounder and his son, also called Thomas.
My estimate is that the name is used by about 130 people worldwide at the moment, and has been used by around 2500 people since hereditary surnames came into use in England.
Distribution of the name
Most Alefounders live in England. There are a few in the USA, Canada, New Zealand and, I believe, two in Australia.
Information from civil registration records, parish register entries, wills, administrations, inventories, census returns, manorial rolls, books and rentals, heraldic visitations, legal records including appearances in criminal cases and chancery proceedings, records of apprenticeships and freemen, tax assessments, poll books, newspapers and various other miscellaneous sources.