This interesting and unusual surname is of Old Norse origin, and is found mainly in Northern England and Scotland, especially the Orkneys, and has two possible sources. The first source is locational from any of the various places named with the Old Norse topographical term "skarth", gap, notch. The second source is from the Old Norse byname "Skarthi", meaning hare-lipped, a derivative of "skarth", as before. In Scotland, Scarth was in the parish of Firth and the first recording of the surname in Scotland was of one Fene Skatht (witness) in 1482 at Orkney. Today there is a place in Lincolnshire called Scarth Hill. The modern surname can be found as Scarth, Scarf, Scarfe and Scarff(e). Among the recordings in Scotland are the christenings of James, son of Adam Scarth and Christian Corston, on September 24th 1780 at Kirkwall and St. Ola, Orkney, and of William, son of William Scarth and Ann Harper, on March 18th 1790 at Eve and Rendall, Orkney. The marriage was also recorded in Orkney of John Scarth and Katherine Slater on July 9th 1791 at Kirkwall and St. Ola. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henry Scharf, which was dated 1273, in the Hundred Rolls of Lincolnshire, during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 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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