- This interesting name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is an English locational surname from the county town of Bedfordshire or from Bedford a village in Lancashire. The placename is recorded in circa 880 as "Bedanford", and in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Bedeford". The meaning of both places is "B(i)eda's ford", from the Olde English pre 7th Century personal name "Bida" or "Bido", thought to be a derivative of "bed", prayer, plus "ford" meaning ford. Locational surnames were usually given to the lord of the manor and to local inhabitants, and especially to those who moved away from their original homes to live or work in another town. One William Bedford was an early settler in Virginia, being listed as living "over the James River" near "James Cittye" in 1623, and the name is now well established in America. The christening was recorded in Bedfordshire of James Bedford on January 21st 1625, at Clifton. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Jordan de Bedeford, which was dated 1273, in the "Hundred Rolls of Oxfordshire", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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.
Surnames reference. 2013.