This notable surname is a patronymic form of Jeffrey, a personal name which has an interesting, if complicated, origin since two or possibly three Old German given names have fallen together in the course of its formation. These names are Gaufrid, Galfrid and Gisfrid, all sharing a common second element, "frithu", peace. The initial elements are espectively "gau", territory, district or land; "gala", song, and "gis", pledge. In early medieval Latin records, the names occur as "Gaufridus, Galfridus and Goisfridus", forms which also appear in the Domesday Book of 1086. The Old French versions were "Jeufroi, Jefroi and Geuffroi", which became "Geffrey" in Middle English. This led to confusion with the name Godfrey which is, in fact, originally from "Godafrid" ("guda" and "frithu" in Old German meant "god-peace"). Early examples of the surname include: Agnes Geffreys (Suffolk, 1283) and Hugo Jafres (Staffordshire, 1327). On December 14th 1608, Elizebeth Jeffries and Edward Lewes were married at St. Mary Aldermary, London. An early namebearer to settle in America was David Jeffries who emigrated to New England in 1677. The family Coat of Arms is a black shield with a gold lion rampant between three scaling ladders of the second. A castle with two gold towers is on the Crest, and the Motto "Fac recte et nil time", translates as, "Do right, and fear nothing". 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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