This interesting surname of English origin with variant spellings Jeffry, Jeffery, Jeffree, Jeffray, Jeffroy, Jaffrey, Jaffray, Geoffrey, Geoffroy, etc. is derived from a Norman personal name that appears in Middle English as Geffrey and in Old French as Je(u)froi. These names are themselves the result of a coalescing of several originally distinct Old German names such as "Galfridus", and Gaufridus which derive from "gala" meaning "to sing" or "gawi" "region or territory", plus "fridtha", "peace". The surname dates back to the early 13th Century, (see below). Further recordings include one Walter Gefray (1243), witness, "The Assize Court Rolls of Somerset", and Agnes Geffreys (1283), "The Subsidy Rolls of Suffolk". London church recordings include one Elizabeth Jeffray who married John Hare on February 26th 1628, in Stepney. Anne Jaffray married William Oram on July 9th 1763, at St. Ann's Westminster, and Henry, son of Henry and Mary Jaffray, was christened on February 6th 1740, at St. Martin in the Fields, Westminster. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter Geffrei, which 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 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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