Recorded in many spellings Including Galliver, Gulliver, Gallafant, Gallifont, Galliford, Gullefant, Gullifant, Gulliford, Gillivan, and others, this is an English nickname surname, but one of pre medieval French origins. The derivation is from the medieval word "goulafre", which today is taken to mean a big eater, but may well in the past have had some other translation. Nicknames were given for a wide variety of reasons such as personal characteristics, occupations, resemblance to creatures and animals, and even habits of dress. They form one of the largest groups in the surname listing. They also often mean the very opposite of what they appear to describe! In this case the surname was first recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 (see below), making it one of the earliest of all surnames to be recorded, whilst other early examples include: Philip Golafre, in the Red Book of the Exchequer for Suffolk in 1166; and Richard Gulavere, of Northampton, in the Book of Fees, circa 1220. Later examples taken from surviving church registers of Greater London include Abraham Gullefant at St Mary Aldermary, on November 8th 1700, and William Galefant at St Pancras Old Church, on May 11th 1803.The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Gulafra, which was dated 1086, in the Domesday Book of Suffolk, during the reign of King William 1st, known to history as "The Conqueror", 1066 - 1087. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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