There are two possible sources for this rare name of Anglo-Saxon origin, the first being that it is a topographical name for a dweller by the white ford, probably a reference to the "white water" that occurs in turbulent rivers, with the derivation from the Old English pre 7th Century "hwit", white and "ford", a ford over the river. However, there are two places called Whitford, one in North Wales and the other in Devon, so it may be that Witheford is a dialectal variant of this locational name from either of these two places with the same derivation as before. Among the recordings in London is the marriage of William Witheford and Elizabeth Smith on November 3rd 1745 at St. Lukes, Old Street, Finsbury. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Agneta Whitforde (marriage to Thomas Lee), which was dated July 8th 1576, Edmonton, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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