According to the famous International Genealogical Index of surnames this famous surname is spelt in many forms including Madford, Madaford, Maddaford, Maddeford, Medford, Medforth, Metford, Midford, and Mitford. If so it is locational, clearly English, and almost certainly originates from the village of Mitford in the county of Northumberland. Quite how Mitford become Maddaford for instance, is one of the mysteries of etymology but is probably the result of very thick local dialects combined with plain poor spelling! The name means the ford at the junction of two rivers, these being the Font and the Wansbeck. Locational surnames are by their nature usually "from" names. That is to say surnames given for identification of a stranger to a person after he or sometimes she, had left their original homes to move somewhere else. This action is apparent even in the first recording. This was John de Midford, in the Pipe Rolls of County Durham in 1196, although Robert de Mitford in the Assize Rolls of Northumberland, in 1256, may well have been the owner of the manor of Mitford, and hence was named after it. The surname is recorded in the city of London as Medford, Midford and Mitford, in Elizabethan times, as Madford from 1647, but not seemingly as Madaford or Maddaford until after 1809.
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