Recorded as Ealef, Elf, Elfe, Ellfe, Elph, and probably others, this is a surname of Anglo-Saxon and Olde English origins. It derives from the pre 6th century word "aelf" meaning an elf or goblin, and is usually found as a component part of a personal name such as Aelftheah. This translates as "High elf," and is found in the modern surname of Elphick, Elfick and Elvidge. This type of descriptive "name" was very popular in the period of history known as "The Dark Ages" or approximately from the fall of the Roman Empire in 412 a.d. through to the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. The surname is however quite rare, suggesting that it may now be a short form of Elphick, but if so we have not been able to find any evidence. An early example of recordings taken from surviving church registers is that of Mary Elfe. She was christened at St Andrews Holborn in the city of London, on September 11th 1644, during the English Civil War of 1642 - 1649 and the "reign of Oliver Cromwell.
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