Recorded in a wide variety of spellings including De Few, Defew, Defau, De Fau, De Faux, De Faye, Defay, Defey, Deffee, Deffey, Diffey, Faux, Desfeues, and no doubt others, this is a medieval French surname. When recorded outside of France, it is probably a Protestant and Huguenot surname, and as such relates to people who fled France between 1580 and 1750 to escape the religious persecution of those times. The register of French surnames "Dictionaire etymologique des noms de famille" describes the name origin as "obscure". We believe that the derivation is from the ancient word "faux", and if this is correct the surname can be locational or job descriptive, and describe either an agricultural area which was "mowed" for hay, and hence somebody who lived by or at such a place, or possibly a person who did the mowing. Many, if not the majority of all surnames, have something to do with agriculture or the natural landscape, and there seems no reason why this should be different. Examples of the name recordings taken from surviving church registers in the city of London include: Rene Desfeues, at the French church, Threadneedle Street, London, on January 22nd 1685, Charlotte de Few, at the same church on February 20th 1687, Sarah Deffey or Diffey, who married William Joly as spelt, at St George's Mayfair, on December 14th 1729, and John Defew, whose daughter Elizabeth was christened at St Luke's church, Finsbury, London, on October 15th 1776. Probably the earliest recording is that of Cornelius Defews, at the church of St Lawrence Jewry, in the city of London, on December 1st 1570 during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1st, 1558 - 1603..
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