Recorded as Alford, Olford and Oldford, this is an ancient English locational surname. It originates either from the villages of Alford in Lincolnshire, Surrey and Somerset, or the village of Old Ford also in Somerset, or possibly in some cases, from a now 'lost' medieval site of similar spelling. The Lincolnshire village name is recorded in the 1086 Domesday Book as commissioned by William the Conqueror, in the spelling of 'Alforde'. This, according to the Dictionary of English Place Names means the 'ford by the temple', the latter being a place of pagan worship. A secondary possible meaning given is the 'ford by the alder trees', and logically this would seem a more likely explanation. Curiously the meaning for the Somerset village as Alford is given as 'the ford of Ealdgyp', which translates as the 'ford of the old woman(!), although the other village does mean the Old Ford. Early examples of the surname recording include John Alforde of Somerset in the historic rolls known as 'Kirby's Quest' for the year 1273, whilst on November 21st 1599, Agnes Olford married Steven Perren at Crewkerne, and in 1634 Thomas Alford of Wiltshire married Benedicata Berrisford at St Georges Chapel, Hanover Square, London. The first recorded spelling of the surname is believed to be that of Robert de Aldeforde. This was dated 1184, in the Annales Cestrienses Rolls of Lancashire and Cheshire, during the reign of King Henry 11nd of England, 1154 - 1189. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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