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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Where did the English Clifford family come from? When did the Clifford family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Clifford family history?

Clifford is an ancient Norman name that arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Clifford family lived in one of the many parishes by the name of Clifford in Hereford, Gloucestershire and Bristol.

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Norman surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are largely due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England, as well as the official court languages of Latin and French, also had pronounced influences on the spelling of surnames. Since medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings. The name has been spelled Clifford, Cliffort, Clifforde, Clifforte and others.

First found in Nottingham where they held a family seat from very early times and were granted lands by Duke William of Normandy, their liege Lord, for their distinguished assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Clifford research. Another 313 words(22 lines of text) covering the years 1068, 1493, 1542, 1517, 1570, 1558, 1605, 1630, 1673, 1660, 1672, 1677, 1622, 1698, 1663, 1730, 1700, 1732 and are included under the topic Early Clifford History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 213 words(15 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Clifford Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Clifford family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 125 words(9 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Many English families emigrated to North American colonies in order to escape the political chaos in Britain at this time. Unfortunately, many English families made the trip to the New World under extremely harsh conditions. Overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the stormy Atlantic. Despite these hardships, many of the families prospered and went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the United States and Canada. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the name Clifford or a variant listed above:

Clifford Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Oliver and Marie Clifford settled in Virginia in 1635
  • Marie Clifford, aged 25, landed in America in 1635
  • Caver Clifford, aged 18, arrived in Virginia in 1635
  • Oliver Clifford, who landed in Virginia in 1640
  • George Clifford settled in Boston Massachusetts in 1645, member of the Artillery Company


Clifford Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Susana Clifford, who arrived in Virginia in 1705
  • Andrew Clifford, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1746

Clifford Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • James Clifford, aged 27, arrived in New York in 1800
  • A C Clifford, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850
  • John Clifford, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County Pennsylvania in 1852
  • C Clifford, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1856
  • Catharine Clifford, aged 30, arrived in New York in 1864


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  • Clark McAdams Clifford (1906-1998), Former U.S. Secretary of Defense and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • Lieutenant Colonel Michael Richard "Rich" Clifford (b. 1952), former NASA Astronaut with 665 hours in space
  • Doug "Cosmo" Clifford (b. 1945), American drummer for the rock band, Creedence Clearwater Revival
  • John Gary Clifford (b. 1942), award-winning American historian
  • Mr. George Quincy Clifford (d. 1912), aged 40, American First Class passenger from Stoughton, Massachusetts who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking
  • Roger Kingdon Clifford FRS (1845-1879), English mathematician and philosopher
  • Charles Clifford (1813-1893), New Zealand politician
  • Grahame Clifford (1905-1984), English opera singer and actor, principal baritone of the Royal Opera Company, Covent Garden


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  • The Family Histories of the Cliffords and Rollins by Leslie G. Perry.
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  1. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  2. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  3. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  4. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  5. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  6. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  7. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  8. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  9. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  10. Virkus, Frederick A. Ed. Immigrant Ancestors A List of 2,500 Immigrants to America Before 1750. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1964. Print.
  11. ...


This page was last modified on 12 February 2014 at 14:08.

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