Recorded in several forms including Tiffan, Tiffen, Tiffany, Tiffeny, Tiffney, this internationally known, but quite rare surname, is of medieval English origin. It is a dialectal variant of Tiffin, itself from the female given name Tiffania, and ultimately the Greek Theophania. It means "To appear like god" and was one of the famous Crusader names. That is to say names brought back to Europe after the Crusades of the 12th century. As a baptismal name it was usually given to girls born around the feast of the Epiphany.In France it is usually recorded as Tiphaine or Tiphine. The surname dates back to the late 13th Century, (see below) and other early examples of recordings include Cristina Typhayn, a woman landowner in the Tax Subsidy Rolls of Somerset in 1327. Other examples include Henry Tiffney who was christened at St. John's Hackney, in the city of London in 1615, whilst Margaret Tiffany aged 15, was a famine emigrant from Ireland, who sailed from Liverpool aboard the ship Elsinore on May 1st 1847, bound for New York. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Gilbert Tyffayne. This was dated 1288, in the Court Rolls of the Abbey of Ramsey and of the Honor of Clare, Norfolk, during the reign of King Edward 1st of England, 1272 - 1307. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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