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Surname Alford - Meaning and Origin

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Alford: What does the surname Alford mean?

The surname Alford is of English origin and is derived from a geographical locality. It is linked to several places in England that bear the same name such as Alford in Lincolnshire, Somerset, and Aberdeenshire in Scotland. The name Alford comes from Old English "alder" meaning alder (a type of tree) and "ford" meaning river crossing. Thus, it is generally translated to mean "a ford by an alder tree" or "river crossing with alder trees". This most likely refers to families who resided near such geographical features. The surname was first recorded in the late 11th century and has many variations such as Aelford, Elford, Allford, and others. Like many other surnames, it was likely used to help identify individuals in a growing population where names were becoming common, giving rise to the need for further identification.

Alford: Where does the name Alford come from?

The surname Alford is of English origin. It was first found in Lincolnshire, in eastern England where the Alford family held a family seat from very ancient times, while some sources even suggest that they were established prior to the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. Alford is a geographical surname, derived from a location, in this case, the village of Alford in Lincolnshire. The name literally translates as "old ford" from Old English indicating a ford or shallow crossing point over water which was old or ancient.

Today, the surname Alford is still commonly found in the United Kingdom, particularly in England. However, due to historical migration patterns, notably during the period of British colonial expansion, the surname has spread to various parts of the world. It's particularly common in countries such as the United States, Canada, and Australia. In the US, it is most prevalent in North Carolina and Georgia, according to data from the 2014 US Census. The spread of the surname to other English-speaking countries and regions has established it as a globally recognized surname.

Variations of the surname Alford

The surname Alford has numerous variations and spellings that originate from the same root. It is derived from a place name meaning "old ford" from Old English 'eald' (old) and 'ford' (the crossing of a waterway). Variations include Aelford, Allford, Elfurd, Elford, Awlford, Olford, Ulford, and Ahlford. Due to pronunciation differences and errors in handwritten records, the name has often been transcribed incorrectly. These misspellings, such as Awlfored, Aldford or Alfurd, also contribute to the list of variants of the Alford surname. In many cases, these variations have become surnames in their own right.

Alvard or Elfart may also be potential variants, although less common. In any case, the motivation for different spellings comes from the need to distinguish members of the same family when personal names became hereditary surnames.

Sometimes, similar surnames, like Alwood and Albert, are mistakenly considered as variations of Alford. However, they often have distinct origins. It remains crucial to verify the exact background and lineage of such surnames for an accurate determination.

Famous people with the name Alford

  • Steve Alford: American former professional basketball player and coach.
  • Martha Alford: American sculptor.
  • Ronnie Alford: American football player.
  • Terry Alford: American historian and author.
  • Helen Alford: British nun and economist.
  • John Alford: British actor and singer who starred in the series "Grange Hill" and "London’s Burning".
  • Clive Alford: Cricket player from South Africa.
  • Annaleigh Alford: American actress known for her roles on Broadway.
  • Henry Alford: English churchman, theologian, textual critic, scholar, poet, and hymn writer.
  • Andi Alford: American basketball player.
  • William P. Alford: American legal scholar and current Vice Dean for the Graduate Program and International Legal Studies at Harvard Law School.
  • Lance Alford: Canadian politician.
  • Ben Alford: Australian rugby league player.
  • Rick Alford: American football coach.
  • Corey Alford: American basketball coach, son of Steve Alford.
  • Erin Alford: American volleyball player.
  • Darnell Alford: American football player.
  • Clarence Alford: American Jazz guitarist.
  • Bret Alford: American football coach.

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