This is an interesting and unusual nickname surname of Dutch origin. It derives from a short form of the various Germanic compound names with the first element "wolf" (or the Olde English pre 7th Century "wulf"). A sizeable group of early European surnames were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. These were given in the first instance with reference to occupation, or to a variety of characteristics, such as physical attributes or peculiarities, mental and moral characteristics, supposed resemblance to an animal's or bird's appearance or disposition, and to habits of dress. In this case the name may have been given to a person with some fancied resemblance to the animal, or perhaps its attributes, i.e. "fierce". The wolf was native throughout the forests of Europe, including Britain until comparatively recently and played an important role in Germanic mythology, being regarded as one of the sacred beasts of the God Woden. Wolf as a surname is very seldom found without the article "le" in the 13th and 14th Centuries. Recordings from London Church Registers include the marriage of Peter de Woolfe and Mary Lemare on December 6th 1680, at St. James', Duke's Place, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Wulf, which was dated 1166, in the "Pipe Rolls of London", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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