Last name: Upcraft

This interesting surname is of medieval English origin, and is either a topographical name from residence by "the upper enclosure", derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century "up, upp(e)", upper, above, with "croft", enclosure, or a locational name from some minor or unrecorded place, perhaps a lost village, named with these elements. The Olde English "up" usually indicated a situation higher up than neighbouring places or sometimes perhaps higher upstream, and this initial element is found in such placenames is Upchurch, Kent; Uphill, Somerset; and Upminster, Essex. The latter element "croft", occurring occasionally as the second element of place names, can be extended either to mean "a piece of enclosed land used for tillage or pasture", or "a small piece of arable land adjacent to a house". Topographical surnames were among the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognisable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages. Locational surnames were originally given as a means of identification to those who left their birthplace to work and settle in another area, and were best identified by their former village name. On January 6th 1638, My, daughter of William Upcroft, was christened at St. Martin at Palace, Norwich, Norfolk, and on April 27th 1679, Margaret Upcraft and John Warmsly were married at St. Mary's, Stamford, Lincolshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Stephanus Upcroft, which was dated December 9th 1591, in the Marriage Registers of St. George Tombland, Norwich, Norfolk, during the reign of Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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.

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