Recorded in the spellings of Guildford and Gillford, and dialectals such as Galfor, Galfour, Gallfall, Gulliford, Guldford, Guldforde, and probably others, this is a surname of Olde English pre 7th century origins. It derives either from the city of Guildford in Surrey, or from residence at a ford where golden flowers grew. The development is from the ancient words gylde, meaning gold, and forda, a shallow river crossing. There is a belief in the city of Guildford that at sometime even before the Norman Conquest of 1066, the area was renowned for its wild Marigolds. The place name is first recorded in the famous register known as the Anglo Saxon Chronicles, as early as the year 880 a.d, where it appears as "Gyldeford" and in the Domesday Book two centuries later as Geldeford or Guldeford. Like most locational surnames, the first recordings are many years after the place name itself, and were originally given, as in this case, either to the lord of the manor, or as identification to a person after he or she left their original home, and moved elesewhere. Recordings taken from early church registers include Zachariah Gillford, who was baptised at St. Dunstans in the East, Stepney, in 1658, and Thomas Gulliford at St. Botolphs without Aldgate, city of London, in 1684. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Sir John de Guldeford, in the rolls of heraldry known as the "Parliamentary roll", in the reign of King Edward 11nd of England, known as "Edward of Carnafon", 1377 - 1399.
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