This very uncommon and interesting name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is one of the many variant forms of surname to be generated from the Old English pre 7th Century personal name, 'Aelfwine'. The name is composed of the elements 'aelf', elf, and 'wine', friend; these were frequently used elements in Anglo-Saxon compound personal names, such as 'Aelfwig', elf-battle, and 'Aethelwine', noble-friend. 'Aelfwine' is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as 'Aeluuin', 'Alfuuinns', 'Aluuinus' and 'Eluuin', while one 'Goduine Aelfuini filius' (Godwin son of Aelfwine) appears in the 1095 Feudal Documents of the Abbey of Bury St.Edmunds, Suffolk. The surname from this source can be found in a variety of forms, ranging from A(i)lwyn, A(y)lwen and Allwyn to Elwyn, Elwin, Elvin, Elfin, Alvin, Alven and Elf(l)ain or Elf(l)ein. One Anne Elfelin married Nathaniel Whitel in Lincolnshire in December 1628, and James Elflain was christened at St. Luke's, Finsbury, London, on November 28th 1819. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Allewin (witness), which was dated 1219, The Yorkshire Assize Rolls, during the reign of King Henry 111, 'The Frenchman', 1216 - 1272. 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.
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