Norman Conquest of England of 1066 brought the Wilefork family name to the British Isles. They lived in Nottinghamshire, at Wilford. This placename is derived from the name Norman-French name Will, a pet form of William and the word ford, meaning a river crossing, and indicates that the ford in question belonged to William.
Early Origins of the Wilefork family
Nottinghamshire at Wilford (also known as Wilfrids Ford) a parish and village in the union of Basford, in the north division of the wapentake of Rushcliffe. The village dates back to at least the Domesday Book when it was listed as Wilesford CITATION[CLOSE]
Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8) and literally meant "willow-tree ford," from the Old English words "wilig" + "ford." CITATION[CLOSE]
Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4) At that time, the land was held William Peverel, a Norman Baron, who was granted the fishery in the district of Clifton. Wilford House was built by Henry Smith, Esq. in 1828. CITATION[CLOSE]
Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
Early History of the Wilefork family
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Wilefork Spelling Variations
Anglo-Norman names are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. When the Normans became the ruling people of England in the 11th century, they introduced a new language into a society where the main languages of Old and later Middle English had no definite spelling rules. These languages were more often spoken than written, so they blended freely with one another. Contributing to this mixing of tongues was the fact that medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, ensuring that a person's name would appear differently in nearly every document in which it was recorded. The name has been spelled Wilfoord, Williford, Wilfort, Wilford and others.
Early Notables of the Wilefork family (pre 1700)
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Migration of the Wilefork family to the New World and Oceana
For many English families, the political and religious disarray that plagued their homeland made the frontiers of the New World an attractive prospect. Thousands migrated, aboard cramped disease-ridden ships. They arrived sick, poor, and hungry, but were welcomed in many cases with far greater opportunity than at home in England. Many of these hardy settlers went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Among early immigrants bearing the name Wilefork or a variant listed above were: Joseph and Hannah Wilford arrived in New England in 1766; Eleanor Wilford and her husband arrived in Maryland in 1733. Joh Wilfort arrived in Philadelphia in 1849..
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