This interesting and unusual name is of Irish origin, and is one of the dialectal variants of the surname (Mac) Kilfedder, itself the Anglicization of "Mac Giolla Pheadair", meaning the son of the servant or devotee of St. Peter. The prefix "Mac" is not now retained with any of the variants, Kilfeder, Kilfether and Gilfedder or Gilfether. The homeland of the sept was County Sligo, and it has also spread into the neighbouring counties of Ulster. This name is known to have been introduced into America as it is attested that a Margaret Kilfeather (see below) sailed aboard the "Marmion".On the May 25th 1845, from Liverpool, bound for America, having first emigrated from Ireland to escape the famine. Amongst the recordings in Ireland are Maria Kilfeather married Johannes O' Connor on January 8th 1859 in the Roman Catholic Church, Calry, Sligo, and the christening of Caterina Kilfeather on June 30th 1867 at Belleek, Fermanagh. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Margaret Kilfeather, which was dated 1845, in the lists of Irish immigrants arriving at the port of New York, 1846 - 1851. during the reign of Queen Victoria, known as "The Great White Queen", 1837 - 1901. 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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