Recorded as Holdford and Holdforth, this is an English surname. It is locational from a place called Holdford in the county of Somerset. The derivation is from the Old English pre 7th Century "holh", meaning a hollow, with "forda", a shallow river crossing, and the placename was probably used in the sense of a ford in a deep valley. The earliest recording of this place is found in the Anglo-Saxon registers known as the Codex of the year 897a.d. as "Holaforda", and in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Holeforde. During the Middle Ages, as it became increasingly common for people to migrate from their place of origin, generally to seek work, the custom developed where the placename was used as a means of identification, thus resulting in a wide dispersal of the name. An early example is that of William Holloford of Hartland, Devon, in 1561, and Richard Holford who married Wilhemina Rickstayle on September 16th 1583 at Wolborough, near Newton Abbot. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

Surnames reference. 2013.

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