This unusual and interesting name was introduced into England during the 18th Century by Italian (Ashkenazic) immigrants, usually in its original form of 'Sarfatti'. It is an ethnic name adopted in Italy by migrants from France and Spain, who used it to identify themselves as from those countries, which they termed 'Tsarefati', a derivative of 'Tsarefat', originally designating a Phoenician city on the Eastern shore of the Mediterranean. The Jews associated the name 'Tsarefat' first with France, then with France and the Iberian Peninsula, and finally with the whole of western Europe, from about the 14th Century, although in modern times it is now taken to mean simply 'France'. there are a number of modern variants of the name, including 'Sarfas(s)', 'Sarfat(t)i', 'Zarfa(t)i' and 'Serfati'. Mary Ann Sarfas married George Wright on the 7th August 1800 at St. Dunstan's, Stepney. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henry Sarfas (christening), which was dated 16th April 1781, at St. George in the East, Stepney, London, during the reign of King George 111, known as Farmer George, 1760 - 1820. 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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