This interesting surname of English origin is a locational name from a place so called, deriving either from the Old English pre 7th Century personal name Ella, a short form of the various compound names with a first element "oelf" meaning "elf" plus "ford" "ford", or, from the Old English pre 7th Century "alor", "elre" meaning "alder tree" plus "ford". There is a place of this name in Staffordshire and another in Northumberland but the surname is now chiefly found in Devonshire. The placename is recorded as Eleford in the Domesday Book of 1086. The surname dates back to the mid 16th Century, (see below). Variations in the idiom of the spelling include Ilford, Ellford, Elforde, Eillford, etc.. One, Edmond Ilford, son of John and Joan, was christened on March 20th 1575, at St. Mary Abbot's, Kensington. Elizabeth Elford was christened at St. Botolph without Aldgate on June 24th 1594, and Robert Elford married Elizabeth Rashbrooke on September 27th 1607 at St. Peter's, Paul's Wharf, London, during the reign of King James 1 of England and Scotland, 1603 - 1625. 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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