This interesting surname is of Norman origin, introduced into England after the Conquest of 1066. It derives from a pet form of the Middle English male personal name "Geffrey", from the Old French "Geoffroi" or "Geuffroi", which seems to represent three Old German names: "Gaufrid", district of land-peace, "Walahfrid", traveller-peace, and "Gisfrid", pledge peace. Geoffrey was popular in England from the 12th to the 15th Century. "Geffe" (without surname) is noted as a witness in the 1260 Assize Court Rolls of Cheshire and Ralph Jeffe is listed in the 1275 Hundred Rolls of Devonshire. The final "s" indicates the patronymic form, and the surname is first recorded in the early half of the 14th Century (see below). Recordings of the surname from London Church Registers include; William Jeffs who married Sara Warren on April 26th 1620 at St. Giles', Cripplegate; John, son of Anthony Jeffs, who was christened on May 15th 1622 at the same place; and John Jeffs who married Elizabeth Wallen on August 12th 1647 at St. Margaret's, Westminster. A Coat of Arms granted to the family is an ermine shield and on a red canton a gold saltire, the Crest being a pelican's head erased, vulning itself proper. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Geffes, which was dated 1332, in the "Subsidy Rolls of Warwickshire", 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.
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