Recorded as Jeffrey, Jeffery, Geoffrey, patronymics Geoffries, Jefferies, Jefferys and others, this is an English surname, although one of Norman-French and ultimately German, pre 5th century origins. The history is complicated, since three German personal names were 'fused' to create it. In England the name was introduced by the Normans after the Conquest of 1066 as "Jeufroi". The names that combined to form this name were: Godafrid meaning god-peace, Gaufrid, territory and peace; and Galfirdus, meaning song peace. The surname development since those early times has included recordings such as Agnes Geffrays of Suffolk in 1283, Hugo Jafres of Staffordshire in 1327, Symon Geffris of Worcestershire in 1340, and Philip Jeffereyes also of Worcester in 1566. Amongst the recordings of the surname in London is that of the christening of Richard Jefferies at St. Dunstan's in the East, Stepney, on May 1st 1640. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter Geffrei. This was dated 1203, in the Curia Regis rolls of Norfolk, during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland" 1199 - 1216. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was often known as the 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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