This interesting surname, with variant spellings Fife, Fyffe and Phyffe, is of Scottish regional origin from the former kingdom of Fife in East Scotland. The place is believed to be so called from an eponymous Fib, one of the seven sons of Cruithne, founding father of the Pictish race. The surname first appears on record towards the end of the 13th Century, (see below). One, John de Fyff was a charter witness in Aberdeen in 1436, and Andrew de Fiffe, noted in the "Episcopal Register of Brechin", was perpetual vicar of the parish church of Maryton in 1447. Interesting namebearers were Andrew Fyfe, the younger, president of the College of Surgeons, Edinburgh, 1842 - 1843, and professor of chemistry at Aberdeen, 1844 - 1861, also Charles Alan Fyffe, (1845 - 1892), historian, educated at Christ's Hospital and Balliol College, Oxford, whose "History of Modern Europe" in three volumes was published 1880 - 1890. A Coat of Arms granted to the Fyffe family of Dron, Perthshire, depicts a red lion rampant on a silver shield, and a crescent between two silver stars on a red chief. The motto "Decens et honestum" translates as "Becoming and Honourable". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ele de Fyfe, who rendered homage, which was dated 1296, "Calendar of Documents relating to Scotland", during the reign of King John Balliol of Scotland, 1292 - 1296. 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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