This unusual name originally derives from the ancient Greek 'Stephanos' - meaning 'crown' and the name of the first Christian martyr stoned to death in Jerusalem shortly after Christ's death. There are literally hundreds of variants and alternatives of Stephen, the ones relative to this name being of Italian origin and usually found as Stivani, Stefi and Stevani, 'Stivey' being a Germanic form being found in that country as 'Stive' - where it is recorded heraldically. In England the development has included Staffanus (1142), Stiven (1279), Stefne (1283) and Stevenes (1332). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Johannes Stive which was dated Circa 1680, at Stivenberg, Germany during the reign of Emperor Leopold 1 of the Holy Roman Empire 1668-1705 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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