Golden tablets with the seal of the ruler that issued the pass and the seal and name of who it was issued to. About the size of your palm of solid intricately etched gold. The holder of the tablet is backed by the authority of the king to make any required purchases on credit or enter any place they deem necessary. A very powerful token indeed.
Patterns in surnames: There are many ways a surname could have evolved over centuries. One possibility is migration. A Roman name may have traveled to France and hence to England where it was later Anglicized. Case in point - the surname Lawrence went from Laurentius (Roman) to Laurent (French) to Lawrence (English) and then to Lowry (Scottish). There is also natural etymological evolution. For example, a Middle English spelling may have evolved to a modern English spelling (e.g. Stiward to Stewart). Where did your character's Surname come from?