Recorded as Manford, Mansford, Mensforth, Mansforth, Maunford, Mumford and others, this is an English surname. It is locational and a dialectal variant of the locational surname and place name Mundford, a village in the county of Norfolk. The placename is first recorded over a millenium ago in 907 a.d. as Mundefort, and in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Mundeforda. The name means either "Munda's ford", derived from the Olde English pre 7th century personal name Munda, a name which means "protector," with the suffix "ford", a shallow river crossing, or possibly the protected ford, possibly one with a quay or similar.Early examples of recordings in surviving church registers include Edward Maunford, christened in Norwich in August 1564 whilst on the 12th February 1597 Mary Manford married Adam Adamson at the Church of St. Michael at Plea, Norwich, and in the city of London Margret Mansford married Richard Garrett at St Dunstans Stepney, on January 17th 1607. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard de Mundeford. This was dated 1247, in the register of taxes known as the Feet of Fines for Cambridge, during the reign of King Henry IIIrd of England, 1216 - 1272. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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