It is not usual to describe a surname as being a form of a French-Flanders development of a shortened medieval Germanic byname, with (possible) early Greek or Norse-Viking origins (pre 7th Century), but that is the case with this very rare surname. The shortening is relatively common, "Smith" being an excellent example as being formerly an element in a fuller name such as Greensmith, Swordsmith, and Nailsmith. In this case Theuff or Teuf(f) derives from T(h)eufel or Teuf(f)el, or Deufel(l), etc., names of generally Bavarian origins with the "D" and the "T" being interchangeable. The generally accepted meaning is "the devil", from the ancient Greek "Diabolos". The medieval surname translation is more prosaically "the mischievous one", and probably refers to one who played such a part in a play or pageant of the period. There is also a possibility that the name could derive from the Norse "Thor", through the female variant "Tofa", which itself translates as "God-like". Recordings include Edourd Teuff, who married Hortense Vanherberghe of Nord, France, on June 20th 1861, in the reign of Louis Napoleon, 1852 - 1870. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Bernhardus Theuffel, which was dated April 13th 1605, a christening witness, at Homenzohern, Germany, during the reign of Rudolf 11, of the Holy Roman (German) Empire, 1576 - 1612. 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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