Felix: My information is that the name is actually Latin(Roman) that means "broken bridge". Our family lore is that the family came from the area of Pontifex castle (which has its own web site). Apparently it is mentioned in Shakespeare in MacBeth as a place of political murders-see the web site. While the name of the castle is Pontifex(Pontefract or Pontifract) the name of the family that lived there was Norman or French. My guess is that the family name came from all the poor serfs belonging to the castle. My family came from Oldham area -not that far where the castle is-east of Wakefield.When they came to the USA they settled in Penna. Any relatives in Penna?