This rare surname is first recorded in England in the late 17th Century. The form and spelling suggesting a continental origin and a variant "Anglicized" form of the Flemish "Ruffelaert" or the Breton "Ruffelet" both patronymics. This prognosis is confirmed by the spelling of the christian name as "Katherin" (below) one of the French forms, and it is probable that the family were huguenot refugees. The name translates as "the son of Ruh", the latter being a topographical description for one who worked or lived on bare or rocky ground.It is not derived from a "maker of Ruffles", as this fashion was 16th Century, several centuries after the formation of surnames. The name recordings include the following examples Elizabeth Ruffler who married Thomas Frost at St. Georges church, Hanover Square, London on July 1st 1787 and Ann Ruffler, daughter of Mary Ruffler christened at St. John church, Bermondsey on March 4th 1840. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Katherin Ruffeler, which was dated March 9th 1697, marriage to John Burchett at St. Margarets, Westminster, during the reign of King William 111 of Orange and England, 1689 - 1702. 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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