The surname of WOLFF was derived from the Old French WULF - one with the characteristics of a wolf. Surnames having a derivation from nicknames form the broadest and most miscellaneous class of surnames, encompassing many different types of origin. The most typical classes refer adjectivally to the general physical aspect of the person concerned, or to his character. Many nicknames refer to a man's size or height, while others make reference to a favoured article of clothing or style of dress. Many surnames derived from the names of animals and birds. In the Middle Ages ideas were held about the characters of other living creatures, based on observation, and these associations were reflected and reinforced by large bodies of folk tales featuring animals behaving as humans.Early records of the name mention Robert Wulf of London in the year 1166. John le Wlf of the County of Sussex was documented in the year 1273. John le Wulf of the County of Bedfordshire was documented in 1229. Adam le Wolf of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Thomas Wulph registered at Oxford University in 1586. Originally the coat of arms identified the wearer, either in battle or in tournaments. Completely covered in body and facial armour the knight could be spotted and known by the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped garment which enveloped him. Between the 11th and 15th centuries it became customary for surnames to be assumed in Europe, but were not commonplace in England or Scotland before the Norman Conquest of 1066. They are to be found in the Domesday Book of 1086. Those of gentler blood assumed surnames at this time, but it was not until the reign of Edward II (1307-1327) that second names became general practice for all people. A notable member of the name was Virginia Woolfe (1882-1941) the English novelist, critic and essayist, born in London. Her first novel 'The Voyage Out' was published in 1915.
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