This interesting and uncommon name is one of the Anglicized forms of the medieval French surname Dufray, also found as Du Fray, Dufer, Duferie, and Duffrie. The surname has two possible interpretations; the derivation is from the Old French "fer", iron, and the name may therefore have been either occupational, for a worker in iron, a smith, or topographical, for one who lived at or by the smithy. In some cases, the origin may also be from a nickname given to someone with iron-grey hair, or who was thought to be of a stern, unbending nature, "hard as iron".The surname was introduced into England by Huguenot refugees fleeing religious persecution on the Continent during the late 17th Century. London Church Registers record the christening of Samuel, son of Alexander Duffry, at St. Giles' Cripplegate, on June 30th 1714, and the marriage of James Duffree and Phoebe Jane Arnott at St. Mary's, Spitalfields, on December 5th 1864. A Coat of Arms granted to a Duffrie family of Maine, France, depicts a red cross on a silver shield, charged with a gold cinquefoil. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Charles Du Fray, which was dated March 18th 1637, witness at the christening of his daughter, Marie, at the French Reformed Church, Sedan, Ardennes, France, during the reign of King Louis X111 of France, 1610 - 1643. 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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