This very unusual name has provided one of the most difficult researches. It is definitely of medieval French origins, although, with Roman (Latin) antecedents, but the earliest recording is found in Germany. The derivation is from the French "Maux or Mal", or the Latin "Male ficius" which literally translates as vicious or wicked. It is probable that the original nameholder was an actor, one who played the part of the Devil or a demon, and in consequence adopted the description as a surname. The name is very rare in the spelling form as Marfe, but is relatively more popular as Marfeck or Marfegg (German), Marfour and Maifot (Frnace) and Mafolio or Marforio (Italy). In England in the 18th Century, these appear as a number of apparently related recordings including Murfe and Morfe, and this may be so, however, it is also possible that these are early shortened forms of the Irish O'Murchada (Murphy). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of George Marfe, which was dated February 14th 1690, a christening witness at Punitz Evangelist Church, Posen, Germany, during the reign of Emperor Leopold 1 of the Holy Roman (German) Empire, 1668 - 1705. 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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