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

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

Clifton is a name that first reached England following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Clifton family lived in one of the many parishes by the name of Clifton in Carlisle, Ely, Gloucestershire and others.


It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, Anglo-Norman surnames like Clifton are characterized by many spelling variations. Scribes and monks in the Middle Ages spelled names they sounded, so it is common to find several variations that refer to a single person. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages such as Norman French and Latin, even literate people regularly changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Clifton include Clifton, Clyfton, Clyftoun, Cliffton, Cliffeton, Clifftown, Cliffetown, Cliftown, Cliftoun, Clifftoun, Clifftone and many more.

First found in Lancashire 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.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Clifton research. Another 395 words(28 lines of text) covering the years 1066, 1257, 1278, 1368, 1414, 1st , 1587, 1666, 1614, 1666, 1626, 1670, 1659, 1612, 1675, 1663, 1686, 1683 and 1686 are included under the topic Early Clifton History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 163 words(12 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Clifton Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Faced with the chaos present in England at that time, many English families looked towards the open frontiers of the New World with its opportunities to escape oppression and starvation. People migrated to North America, as well as Australia and Ireland in droves, paying exorbitant rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, but those who did see the shores of North America were welcomed with great opportunity. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America carried the name Clifton, or a variant listed above:

Clifton Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • Jane Clifton, who landed in Virginia in 1633
  • Richard Clifton, who landed in Virginia in 1642
  • Lady Clifton, who arrived in Virginia in 1648
  • Sarah Clifton, who landed in Maryland in 1650
  • Paul Clifton, who landed in Virginia in 1650

Clifton Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Dr. John Clifton, of London, England, settled in Maine in 1709
  • Hugh Clifton, who landed in Philadelphia Pennsylvania in 1712-1713
  • Thos Clifton, who landed in Virginia in 1714
  • Thomas Clifton, who landed in America in 1760-1763
  • John Clifton, who landed in New England in 1766


  • Lucille Clifton (1936-2010), American poet and educator from Buffalo, New York
  • Mark Clifton (1906-1963), American science fiction author and businessman
  • Jeffrey Chad Clifton (b. 1976), American offensive lineman for the Green Bay Packers
  • Chester Victor Clifton Jr. (1913-1991), Major General in the United States Army, aide to Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson
  • Richard R. Clifton (b. 1950), federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • Pete Clifton (b. 1962), British media executive, former head of BBC News Interactive
  • Shaw Clifton (b. 1945), the 18th General of The Salvation Army
  • Geoffrey Clifton -Brown (b. 1953), British politician and farmer
  • Bernie Clifton, British comedian and entertainer
  • Helen Clifton (b. 1948), British Salvation Army Commissioner, wife of the 18th General of The Salvation Army



  • A Genealogy of the Clifton, Leaton, Rourke, and Secord Families by Richard Lee Secord.
  • Our Clifton Ancestors and Their Descendants by Nell M. Wright.


  1. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  2. Crispin, M. Jackson and Leonce Mary. Falaise Roll Recording Prominent Companions of William Duke of Normandy at the Conquest of England. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  3. Hanks, Hodges, Mills and Room. The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7).
  4. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  5. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  6. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  7. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  8. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  9. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  10. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  11. ...

This page was last modified on 1 October 2014 at 10:36.

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