Recorded in a large number of forms including: Bonafant, Bonefant, Bonevent, Bonifant, Bonefin and Bonnefin, this most interesting surname is of Old French origin, of which it has two possibilities. It may derive from the phrase "bon enfant" meaning literally "good child". This was an early baptismal name which ultimately developed into a surname in medieval times. Probably introduced into the British Isles after the Norman Conquest of 1066, it spread rapidly in the following three centuries developing into the various spellings. The second possibility is a similar development from an expression "bon fin". In this case this is or rather was, a nickname given to somebody who for some reason habitually used the expression to the point of becoming identified with it by his or her friends and neighbours. It is very difficult ascribing modern translations to medieval expressions, but the phrase would suggest a "with you to the end" meaning. Either way the surname is an early recording with examples being those of Henry Bonefant in the Hundred Rolls of Berkshire in 1275, John Bon Effaunt in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex in 1332 and Roger Bonyfaunt in the Calendar of letter Books of the city of London" in 1472. William Bonyvant was recorded in 1540 in the "Index of Wills proved in the Rochester Consistory Court", whilst Ann, the daughter of Olyver Bolyvent was christened on October 25th 1640 at St. John's, Hackney, London. In France recordings are much later but Charlotte Bonnefin was recorded at Pont-a-Mousson, Meurthe-et-Moselle, on December 28th 1808. Over the centuries surnames in every country have continued to "develop", often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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