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

Where did the English Coffin family come from? What is the English Coffin family crest and coat of arms? When did the Coffin family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Coffin family history?

The saga of the name Coffin follows a line reaching back through history to the days of the Anglo-Saxon tribes in Britain. It was a name for someone who worked as a person who made baskets. The surname Coffin is derived from the Old French words cofin and coffin, which in turn come from the Late Latin word cophinus, which means basket. Occupational names such as this one frequently were derived from the principal object associated with the activity of the original bearer, such as tools or products. These types of occupational surnames are called metonymic surnames. The English word coffin is a specialized development of this word which did not exist before the 16th century. The surname Coffin may also be a nickname derived from the Latin word calvus, which means bald.

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Before the last few hundred years, the English language had no fast system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations are commonly found in early Anglo-Saxon surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Coffin were recorded, including Coffin, Coffyn, Colvin, Caffin, Caffyn, Chafen, Chaffine and many more.

First found in Devon where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Coffin research. Another 297 words(21 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Coffin History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Coffin Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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To escape oppression and starvation at that time, many English families left for the "open frontiers" of the New World with all its perceived opportunities. In droves people migrated to the many British colonies, those in North America in particular, paying high rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Although many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, those who did see the shores of North America perceived great opportunities before them. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Research into various historical records revealed some of first members of the Coffin family emigrate to North America:

Coffin Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Francis Coffin who settled in Virginia in 1635
  • Francis Coffin, who arrived in Virginia in 1635
  • Tristram Coffin, who landed in Massachusetts in 1642
  • Anne Coffin settled in Virginia in 1650
  • James Coffin, who landed in Nantucket, Massachusetts in 1660


Coffin Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Richard Coffin, who landed in New York in 1795

Coffin Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • C Coffin, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850
  • J W Coffin, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850
  • Mrs. M Coffin, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850
  • Mrs. M A Coffin, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851
  • M B Coffin, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851


Coffin Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century


  • Albert Coffin, aged 21, who emigrated to the United States, in 1903
  • Alice Coffin, aged 53, who landed in America, in 1909
  • Arthur H. Coffin, aged 26, who emigrated to the United States, in 1921
  • Arthur Coffin, aged 27, who settled in America, in 1922
  • Annie Coffin, aged 38, who emigrated to the United States from London, England, in 1923

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  • Jeff Coffin (b. 1965), multiple Grammy Award-winning American jazz and alternative rock musician
  • Howard Aldridge Coffin (1877-1956), American politician from the state of Michigan. Member of Congress from 1947 to 1949
  • Charles Edward Coffin (1841-1912), American politician, Representative of the 5th Congressional District of Maryland from 1894 to 1897
  • Robert Peter Tristam Coffin (1892-1955), writer, poet and professor awarded the 1936 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry
  • Tristam Coffin (1909-1990), American film and television actor from the latter 1930s through the 1970s
  • Major General Clifford Coffin VC, CB, DSO & Bar (1870-1959), English recipient of the Victoria Cross for gallantry during World War I
  • Charles Hayden Coffin (1862-1935), English actor and singer known for his performances in many famous Edwardian musical comedies
  • Admiral Sir Isaac Coffin GCH (1759-1839), British officer of the Royal Navy who served during the American War of Independence and the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars
  • Colonel Richard Geoffrey Pine- Coffin DSO & Bar, MC (1908-1974), English parachute officer of the British Army during World War II


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  • Gatherings Toward a Genealogy of the Coffin Family by W. S. Appleton.
  • Genealogy of the Early Generations of the Coffin Family in New England by Sivanus Jenkins Macy.
  • The Long Years by Jean M. Maire.
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The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Extant recte factis praemia
Motto Translation: Rewards await right actions.

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  1. 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.
  2. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  3. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  4. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  5. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  6. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  7. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  8. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  9. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  10. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  11. ...

The Coffin Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Coffin Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 15 August 2014 at 11:15.

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