Most surnames don't translate as they appear, this rare surname does! It is a patronymic diminutive based upon the Anglo-Saxon pre 10th century "Skof" and literally in medieval terms describes a joker or jester, one who scoffs. "Scoffins" itself is a compound consisting of the suffix elements "in" meaning a relative, a short form of "kin" plus the plural "s" again a short form, this time of "son". The full translation is "The son of the kin of Scoff". It is probable that the first Mr Scoff(er) was a professional entertainer, although it is possible that he was an official of the law courts, one employed to scorn the opposition. Not surprisingly most published dictionaries of surnames give this surname a wide birth, preferring to stick to less contentious names. One thing is certain, it has been recorded for a long time, and examples of the recordings include Thomas Scoffin, the son of Thomas and Anne Scoffin, christened at the church of St. Mary Whitechapel, on August 24th 1655, whilst two centuries later Harriet Emma, the daughter of Thomas and Loisa Scoffins, was christened on October 29th 1865, at the church of St Mary's, Handsworth, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Susanna Scofyne, which was dated March 19th 1580, christened at St. Giles Church, Cripplegate, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess" 1558 - 1603. 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.