Recorded as Hoof, Hoofe, Houfe, Huff, Huffy and Heffie and Heffy, this is usually an English surname. It probably originates from the pre 7th century word 'hoh' meaning a hollow, but also used in a transferred sense to describe a projecting ridge of land. The second possible origin is Irish, and a short form of the different surnames Heffernan or Hefferan. As Heffy or Heffie it is does not seem to be recorded anywhere before the Victorian period, and then in the English county of Lancashire, and specifically the seaport of Liverpool, the gateway from Ireland. Examples of early recordings include Thomas Hoofe in the register of the Freeman of the city of York, and dated 1526, whilst on November 28th 1656 Katerine Houfe was christened the church of St. John the Baptist, Chester, Cheshire. James Huffey was christened at St. Olave's Southwark, on November 14th 1661, whilst John Heffy was recorded on September 8th 1872 as born in Liverpool. The first recorded spelling of the family name is probably that of William de Huff. This was dated 1379 in the Poll Tax returns for the county of Yorkshire, and during the reign of King Richard 11nd, known as "Richard of Bordeaux", 1377 - 1399. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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