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

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

The name Gifford thought to be of Norman heritage. It is a name for a person who was a chubby cheeked or round faced person. Looking back even further, we found the name was originally derived from the Old French word giffard, which is a pejorative form of giffel, which means jaw.

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Anglo-Norman names are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. When the Normans became the ruling people of England in the 11th century, they introduced a new language into a society where the main languages of Old and later Middle English had no definite spelling rules. These languages were more often spoken than written, so they blended freely with one another. Contributing to this mixing of tongues was the fact that medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, ensuring that a person's name would appear differently in nearly every document in which it was recorded. The name has been spelled Gifford, Giffard, Geffard, Gyfford, Gifferd, Geffard, Gifferd, Gyffard, Gyfferd, Gyford, Giford, Givard, Givord, Giverd and many more.

First found in Lancashire, where the family had been granted lands by King William for their assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gifford research. Another 261 words(19 lines of text) covering the years 1086, 1200, 1279, 1444, 1554, 1629, 1560, 1590, 1548, 1600, 1642, 1734, 1687, 1703, 1703 and 1734 are included under the topic Early Gifford History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 141 words(10 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Gifford Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Gifford family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 41 words(3 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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For many English families, the political and religious disarray that plagued their homeland made the frontiers of the New World an attractive prospect. Thousands migrated, aboard cramped disease-ridden ships. They arrived sick, poor, and hungry, but were welcomed in many cases with far greater opportunity than at home in England. Many of these hardy settlers went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Among early immigrants bearing the name Gifford or a variant listed above were:

Gifford Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Francis Gifford, who settled in Virginia in 1626
  • Edward Gifford, who landed in Virginia in 1635
  • Edward Gifford, aged 30, arrived in Virginia in 1635
  • Ursula Gifford, who landed in Maryland in 1638
  • William Gifford, who arrived in America in 1647


Gifford Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Jonathan Gifford, who arrived in Montserrat in 1710
  • Stephen Gifford, who landed in Virginia in 1712
  • Andrew Gifford, who arrived in Virginia in 1714
  • Samuel Gifford, who arrived in New England in 1717
  • Thomas Gifford, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1795

Gifford Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • William Tilfair Gifford, who arrived in New York in 1826
  • A Gifford, aged 45, arrived in Key West, Fla in 1838
  • George Gifford, who arrived in Washington County, Pennsylvania in 1847
  • John James Gifford, who landed in America in 1848
  • D B Gifford, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850


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  • Francis Newton Gifford (b. 1930), former American football player, well known American sports commentator
  • Robert Swain Gifford (1840-1905), American landscape painter
  • Frances Gifford (1920-1994), American actress
  • Gloria Gifford (1978-2006), American film and TV actress
  • Edric Frederick Gifford VC (1849-1911), 3rd Baron Gifford, English recipient of the Victoria Cross
  • Josh Gifford (b. 1941), English jockey
  • Norman Gifford (b. 1940), English cricketer
  • Algernon Charles Gifford (1861-1948), New Zealand astronomer, explorer, and teacher
  • Paul Gifford B.A., M.Litt. (b. 1944), Professor of African Christianity and Deputy Head of the Department of the Study of Religions in the School of Oriental and African Studies
  • Adam Gifford (1820-1887), Lord Gifford, Scottish advocate and judge; benefactor of the Gifford Lectures endowment

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  • The Genealogy of the Gifford Family from Massachusetts to Maine by Christine R. Brown.
  • Seitter-Gifford Family by Audrey Seitter-Gifford.
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  2. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  3. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  4. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  5. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  6. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  7. Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X).
  8. Virkus, Frederick A. Ed. Immigrant Ancestors A List of 2,500 Immigrants to America Before 1750. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1964. Print.
  9. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1968. Print.
  10. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  11. ...


This page was last modified on 7 February 2014 at 06:21.

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