Recorded in the spellings of Marford, Morford, Morforth, Murtford, Murford, and possibly others, this is an English locational surname. It probably derives either from the village of Marford, near Hatfield, in Hertfordshire, or possibly from Marford in the former county of Flintshire, or more probably from a now 'lost' medieval village called 'Mor - forda' or similar. This is a derivation from the pre 7th century Olde English, and means the shallow crossing place on the marsh lands. Some five thousand British surnames are from 'lost' sites, indeed the surname is usually the only reminder that such a place ever existed.Locational surnames were usually given to people after they left their former home and travelled elsewhere. As pre 19th century spelling was generally poor and local dialects 'thick', the surname usually developed several alternative spellings, in some case the variant forms being more popular than the base spelling. In this case early examples of the surname recording include Rebecca Murford, who married Richard York at Allhallows church, London Wall, on May 4th 1658, James Morford, a witness at St Michael's church, Cornhill, London, on May 25th 1711, and Mary Ann Mortfort, christened at St Martins in the Field, Westminster, on August 31st 1737. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Winifred Murtford, which was dated September 21st 1621, a witness at the church of St Mildred Poultrey, London, during the reign of King James 1st of England and V1 of Scotland, 1603 - 1625. 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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