Recorded in various spellings including Cuphas, Syfax, Syphas and Syphus, this is an English surname. However its origin is believed to be Italian, and to derive from the Roman word "cyathus", meaning a "ladle for filling drinking-cups or a liquid measure". If so then the name is probably occupational for a maker of ladles or for someone who worked in a public house, or perhaps a "Trading Standards" official, one responsible for ensuring that weights and measuring devices for food and drink were correct. It is said that the the surname first appears in church registers records relatively late in the mid 18th Century, and this is possibly explained by changes in spelling, or more likely lost registers. What is certain is that the name is well recorded in the surviving registers of the diocese of Greater London and these recordings include: the marriage of John Syfax to Catherine Mann at St. Dunstans in the East, Stepney, on May 17th 1793, William Syphus married Elizabett Barrett at Great Rissington Gloucestershire on October 12th 1830, whilst Ellen Cyphus married George Paul at All Souls, St. Marylebone, on April 21st 1861. An early recording is that of Mathew Syphus, who married Sarah Pratle, on November 23rd 1756, At Shipton Under Wychwood, Oxfordshire, during the reign of King George 11nd, 1727 - 1760. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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