This interesting and long-established surname is of Old French origin, introduced into England after the Norman Conquest of 1066, and is an example of the sizeable group of early European surnames that were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. The nicknames were given in the first instance with reference to occupation or a variety of features, such as physical attributes or peculiarities, mental and moral characteristics, including supposed resemblance to an animal's or bird's appearance or disposition, or to habits of dress.In this instance the surname derives from the Old French "goulafre", glutton, and the nickname would have been given to a greedy person. Philip Golafre is noted in the Red Book of the Exchequer, Suffolk (1166), and William Golefer is listed in the 1459 Close Rolls of Middlesex. In the modern idiom the surname can be found as Gulliver, Galliver, Gilliver, Gulliford and Galliford. Recordings of the surname from London Church Registers include: the marriage of Susanna Gulliver and Johes Mountaine on April 27th 1641, at St. Martin in the Fields, Westminster; the marriage of John Gilliver and Jane Robinson at Allhallows, London Wall, on October 5th 1684; and the marriage of Anne Gilliver and Robert Arnold at St. James', Duke's Place, on October 17th 1684. 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 1, known as "The Conqueror", 1066 - 1087. 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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