This interesting name derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century "kyft" meaning "unco-ordinated" or "accident prone" and was originally given as a nickname to a rather maladroit person. The surname from this source is first recorded in the early half of the 14th Century, (see below). In 1616 one, Edward Kyfte of Gloucestershire, appears in the "Oxford University Register". The surname is particularly well recorded in London Church Registers from the mid 17th Century. On November 17t, 1644 Mary Kift daughter of James and Ann Kift, was christened at St.Botolph's Bishopsgate and on April 2nd 1696 Ann Kift and Thomas Robinson were married at St. James, Dukes Palace. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Kyft, which was dated 1327, The Somerset County Rolls. 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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