This unusual and interesting name is of early medieval Scottish origin, and is a locational surname deriving from the place called 'Cessford' in the parish of Eckford, Roxburghshire. The placename means the '(wattled) causeway over the ford', derived from the Gaelic 'ceis', meaning 'wattled causeway', with 'ford', ford. The town is situated on a tibutary of Kale Water near Jedburgh. The 'Records of the Regality of Melrose' contain a note of one Gavin Cesfuird, tenant in Westhouses, in 1641, while the Register of the Privy council of Scotland for 1685 records one Thomas Cesford in Tron Kirk parish, and James Cessfoord, a tailor in Edinburgh, was the heir of George Cessford, a writer, also in Edinburgh in 1699. Later variants of the name include 'Cesfurd' (1696) and 'Cessfuird' (1671). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Adam Cessfurde (Bailie of Hawick), which was dated 1558, Annals of Sawick, during the reign of Queen Mary, Queen of Scots, 1542 - 1567. 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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