This rare and interesting surname is of Belgium origin and is the Anglicization of the topographical name Cantfort, which is derived from the Dutch elements "kant", meaning a border, and "fort", a fortification. This name would probably have been given to a person who lived on or near this particular landmark on the border between countries or territories. The name is its present form is not recorded in England, although one Benjamin Cantofer is recorded in London when he married Mary Richerson on September 17th 1780 at St.Marylebone, St. Marylebone Road. Topographical names, are some of the earliest names to be created, as topographical features, whether natural or man-made, provided obvious and convenient means of identification. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Cornelius Cantfort, which was dated December 3rd 1673, Tielen, Atwerpen, Belgium, during the reign of Prince William Henry Stadtholder, 1660 - 1702. 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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