This most interesting surname is ultimately of Old German origin, as it is a diminutive form of "Jeffrey, Geoffrey", which itself derived from any of three Germanic names "Gaufrid", "Walahfrid" and "Gisfrid". The second element in all of these is the Old Germanic "-frithu", peace. The first element of Gaufrid is "gavja", a district of land; the first element in Walahfrid is "valha", traveller; and of Gisfrid, "gis", pledge. Geoffrey itself was a popular given name between the 12th and 15th Centuries in England, resulting in many surnames, for example Jeffries, Jeffree, Jaffrey, Geoffroy as well as Gebb, Gepp, Gepson and Jebb. Geoffrey was not widespread from the 15th Century to the 19th Century. The surname itself was also used as a personal name, one Geppe Werri was recorded in 1228, in "The Book of Fees of Durham", and Geppe filius Hugonis was mentioned in "The Coucher Book of the Cistercian Abbey of Kerkstall" (Yorkshire), in 1258. On William Geppe was listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Suffolk in 1327. John Gepp married Patience May on November 14th 1721, at St. Mary the Virgin, Aldermanbury, London. The Coat of Arms granted to a Gepp family of Essex, formerly of Somerset, is per chevron blue and red a chevron engrailed gold, surmounted of a plain chevron black between three falcons close silver, beaked, legged, jessed, and belled of the third, collared red. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Jep, which was dated 1225, in the "Calendar of Patent Rolls", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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