The surname of DEARDORFF was originally a baptismal name 'the son of Dereman' an ancient although now forgotten personal name. The name was brought into England during the Norman Conquest. The names introduced into Britain by the Normans during and in the wake of the Invasion of 1066, are nearly all territorial in origin. The followers of William the Conqueror were a pretty mixed lot, and while some of them brought the names of their castles and villages in Normandy with them, many were adventurers of different nationalities attached to William's standard by the hope of plunder, and possessing no family or territorial names of their own. Those of them who acquired lands in England were called by their manors, while others took the name of the offices they held or the military titles given to them, and sometimes, a younger son of a Norman landowner, on receiving a grant of land in his new home dropped his paternal name and adopted that of his newly acquired property. A noted member of the name was the American social worker, Neva Ruth DEARDORFF, who was born in Hagerstown, Indiana in 1887. She was educated at Michigan University and had a long and influential career, including Chief of the division of Vital Statistic, for the Bureau of Health, Phia., and then went on to become Director of Statistics and Research Heath Insurance Plan of Greater New York between 1946-57. She made many contributions to social welfare periodicals and died in 1958. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error. Among the humbler classes of European society, and especially among illiterate people, individuals were willing to accept the mistakes of officials, clerks and priests as officially bestowing a new version of their surname, just as they had meekly accepted the surname they had been born with. In North America, the linguistic problems confronting immigration officials at Ellis Island in the 19th century were legendary as a prolific source of Anglicization.
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