This is extraordinary surname is believed to be of Scottish origin, and an "English" development of the surname McLeith. It is well recorded in South East England from the late 18th century as shown below, and in London itself from just after the Napoleonic war (1794 - 1815). It is a surname which is also recorded in Australia for instance, but not before the late Victorian times, and therefore not relevant to its origin. However it may be from a now "lost" village called "Meckcliff" or similar, although no such place name or indeed anything like it is to be found in the gazetters of the past two hundred years. Indeed it is even possible that it could derive from the Russian patronymic surnames Mechkov, meaning the son of the honey eater, or Mickaeloff or Michaelov, both meaning the son of Michael, or even the early German word "meck," and hence be occupational for a goatherd. Surnames throughout history have undergone continual change. This was usually owing to poor spelling intermixed with difficulties interpreting the very strong local dialects in addition to the sometimes foreign language. At various times since the Middle Ages the torrrent of war which poured across Europe almost totally destroyed the already fragile education systems of most countries. In this case we have a number of examples taken from surviving registers of the diocese of Greater London. These include: Richard Meckiff, a witness at the church of St Nicholas, Rochester, Kent, on May 12th 1771, William Meckiff, who married Sarah Smith at St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, on August 2nd 1822, and Charles and Elizabeth Meckiff, witnesses at St Pauls church, Deptford, Kent, on November 15th 1826.
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