Variant spelling of Geoffrey, common in the Middle Ages (as reflected in surnames such as Jefferson). This is now the usual spelling of the name both in North America and Britain. Well-known bearers include the novelist and former British politician Jeffrey Archer (b. 1940), the British conductor Jeffrey Tate (b. 1943), and the American soul singer Jeffrey Osborne (b. 1951).
English and German: from the Germanic personal name Anselm, composed of the elements ans- ‘god’ + helma ‘protection’, ‘helmet’. The personal name was taken to France and England by St Anselm (c.1033–1109), known as the Father of Scholasticism. He was born in Aosta, Italy, joined the Benedictine order at Bec in Normandy, France, and in 1093 became archbishop of Canterbury, England.