Recorded as Orford and the dialectal Awford, this interesting name is English. It is locational deriving from any of the three places called "Orford" in the counties of Lancashire, Lincolnshire and Suffolk. The place in Lancashire is recorded as "Orford" in the tax rolls known as the "Feet of Fines" in 1332, and means "the upper ford", derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century "uferra", with "ford", a shallow river crossing. The place in Lincolnshire is recorded as "Erforde" in the Domesday Book of 1086, derived from the Olde English "Ora ford", meaning the ford at the seashore, whilst the place in Suffolk is recorded as "Oreford" in the Suffolk Pipe Rolls of 1164, and means the same thing.Locational surnames were mostly acquired by those former inhabitants of a place who had moved to another area, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace, an early example being William Orford, who was christened at St. Dunstan's in the East, Stepney, London, on June 30th 1652. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Homines de Oreford. This was dated 1275, in the "Hundred Rolls" of Suffolk, during the reign of King Edward 1st, 1272 - 1307. 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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