The history of this name is a little complicated, since two and possibly three Old German personal names have "fallen together" in the same form, of Geoffrey or Jeffrey. In England the name was introduced by the Normans after the Conquest in 1066, as "Je(u)froi", and appears in Middle English as "Geffrey". At that time "Godfrey" was a separate name and it is thought that some "Geoffreys" may be corruptions of that name. Otherwise, the names that combined to form "Jeffrey" were "Godafrid", god-peace; "Gaufrid", territory-peace; and "Galfridus", song-peace. The name Jefferson is one of the patronymic forms of the surname from this source and first appears in the mid 14th Century (see below). One Alice Geffrason was recorded in the Register of the Guild of the Corpus Christi in the City of York in 1488 and John Jeffrason was mentioned in 1528 in the Register of the Freemen of York. John Jefferson was one of the earliest settlers in "Elizabeth Cittye", Virginia, being recorded there on February 16th 1623. The most famous namebearer was Thomas Jefferson (1743 - 1826), the chief drafter of the American Declaration of Independence (1776), who was secretary of state from 1790 - 1793 and third president of America, from 1801 - 1809. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Geffreysone, which was dated 1344, witness in the "Assize Court Rolls of Staffordshire", during the reign of King Edward 111, known as "The Father of the Navy", 1327 - 1377. 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.
© Copyright: Name Origin Research 1980 - 2017