The history of this name is a little complicated, since two, and possibly three, Old German personal names have fallen together in the same form of "Geoffrey" or "Jeffrey". The name was introduced into England by the Normans after the Conquest of 1066 as "Je(u)froi", and appears in Middle English as "Geffrey". At that time "Godfrey" was a separate name, and it is thought that some Geoffreys may be corruptive of that name. Otherwise, the names that combined to form "Jeffrey" were "Godafrid" meaning god-peace, and "Gaufrid", territory, region-peace, and "Galfridus", song-peace.The surname dates back to the early 13th Century (see below), and early recordings include: Walter Gefray (1243), in the Assize Court Roll of Somerset, John Geffrey (1296), in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex, and John Jafery (1499) in the Index to Wills proved in the Consistory Court of Norwich. London Church Records list the marriage of Thomas Jeffery to Katherin Thurbin on March 11th 1654, at Allhallows, London Wall. A Coat of Arms granted to a Jeffery family is silver, six black billets, three, two, and one, on a black chief a gold lion passant, red armed and langued. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Waltor Geffrei, which was dated 1203, in the "Curia Rolls of Norfolk", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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.
© Copyright: Name Origin Research 1980 - 2017
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