This unusual and interesting name is of locational origin from a place so called in Lincolnshire. The first recording of the place name circa 1000 (Pipe Rolls Lincolnshire) is spelt 'Ceoftefne', developing into 'Ketstevene' by 1194. The first element is an old district name derived from the British 'ceto', a wood and the second from the Olde Scandinavian, 'Slefna', a meeting, thus denoting a district with a common meeting place, an administrative district. In the Middle Ages when people migrated to other areas seeking work they adopted the place name as a means of identification thus dispersing the name far and wide. In Colebey, Lincolnshire, one George Kesteven married Agnes Longman on 4th June, 1574. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Alexander de Kestevens, which was dated Hundred Rolls Northumberland 1273, during the reign of King Edward III, 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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