This unusual name is of Olde Welsh origin, and is either a locational or a topographical surname. If locational, the name derives from any of the various places called "Cyffin", such as the one in Powys, or "Gyffin", a parish in Gwynedd. The placename derives from the Welsh word "cyffin", meaning "boundary", and as a topographical surname would denote residence at or by a boundary of some sort. The register of the University of Oxford cited below also records one Cadwalader Kyffin from Hart Hall, in 1620. David Kyffin or Kiffin (the modern surname is found in both forms) was an early emigrant to the New World, leaving London on the "safety" in August 1635 bound for Virginia. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Lewis Kyffin of Denbigh, which was dated 1586, in the "Register of the University of Oxford", during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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