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

Origins Available: English, Irish

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

The Cuffe surname comes from the Middle English word "cuffe," which meant "glove." It is thought that the name was originally an occupational name for a maker or seller of gloves. Although most instances of the name in Ireland were through migration from England, there were native Irish bearers of Cuffe from the Gaelic form of O Duirnin. Although this name is usually Anglicized as Durnin, it had occasionally become "Cuffe" through mistranslation, since the Gaelic word "dorn" refers to "a fist."

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Irish names were rarely spelled consistently in the Middle Ages. Spelling variations of the name Cuffe dating from that time include Cuff, Cuffe, Couffe, Couff, Cuffy, Cuffey, Cuffie and others.

First found in Kilkenny (Irish: Cill Chainnigh), the former Kingdom of Osraige (Ossory), located in Southeastern Ireland in the province of Leinster, where they held a family seat from very ancient times.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cuffe research. Another 203 words(14 lines of text) covering the years 1670, 1678, 1641, 1694, 1744, 1737, 1804 and 1821 are included under the topic Early Cuffe History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 157 words(11 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Cuffe Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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The 19th century saw a great wave of Irish families leaving Ireland for the distant shores of North America and Australia. These families often left their homeland hungry, penniless, and destitute do to the policies of England. Those Irish immigrants that survived the long sea passage initially settled on the eastern seaboard of the continent. Some, however, moved north to a then infant Canada as United Empire Loyalists after ironically serving with the English in the American War of Independence. Others that remained in America later joined the westward migration in search of land. The greatest influx of Irish immigrants, though, came to North America during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. Thousands left Ireland at this time for North America, and those who arrived were immediately put to work building railroads, coal mines, bridges, and canals. In fact, the foundations of today's powerful nations of the United Sates and Canada were to a larger degree built by the Irish. Archival documents indicate that members of the Cuffe family relocated to North American shores quite early:

Cuffe Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Martin Cuffe, who landed in Virginia in 1622
  • Martin Cuffe who settled in Virginia in 1623
  • John and Thomas Cuffe arrived in Virginia in 1670
  • Richard Cuffe settled in Jamaica in 1670

Cuffe Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Annie Cuffe, aged 3, who emigrated to the United States from Glasgow, in 1892

Cuffe Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century


  • Mary Cuffe, aged 74, who landed in America from Donegal, in 1904
  • Mary Cuffe, aged 42, who settled in America from Ballaghaderin, Ireland, in 1907
  • Edward Cuffe, aged 20, who emigrated to America from Hamilton, England, in 1907
  • Annie Cuffe, aged 18, who landed in America from Dugort, Ireland, in 1908
  • Edward Cuffe, aged 22, who landed in America from Hiost, England, in 1909


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  • Paul Cuffe (1759-1817), sometimes spelt Cuffee, an American Quaker businessman, sea captain, patriot, and abolitionist
  • Selena Senora Cuffe (b. 1975), African-American businesswoman, co-fonder of Heritage Link Brands, LLC
  • Hamilton John Agdmondesham Cuffe KP, KCB, PC (1848-1934), 5th Earl of Desart, an Irish peer and solicitor who was made a member of the Order of St Patrick in 1919
  • Ciarán Cuffe (b. 1963), Irish Green Party politician
  • James Cuffe (1707-1762), Irish landowner in County Mayo
  • James Cuffe (1747-1821), 1st Baron Tyrawley, an Irish peer and politician, Member of Parliament for Mayo (1768-1797), and for Donegal Borough (1776-1777)
  • James Cuffe (1778-1828), Irish politician, Member of Parliament for Tralee (1819-1828); he was the illegitimate son of James Cuffe, 1st Baron Tyrawley
  • Charles Richard Cuffe (1914-1972), Irish cricketer
  • Ellen Odette Cuffe (1857-1933), Countess of Desart, née Bischoffsheim, an Irish politician, company director and philanthropist
  • John Otway O'Conner Cuffe (1818-1865), 3rd Earl of Desart, an Irish Conservative politician, Under-Secretary of State for War and the Colonies in 1852

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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: Animus tamen idem
Motto Translation: Yet our mind is unchanged.

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  1. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  2. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  3. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  4. Somerset Fry, Peter and Fiona Somerset Fry. A History of Ireland. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1993. Print. (ISBN 1-56619-215-3).
  5. MacLysaght, Edward. The Surnames of Ireland 3rd Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1978. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2278-0).
  6. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  7. 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.
  8. Fitzgerald, Thomas W. Ireland and Her People A Library of Irish Biography 5 Volumes. Chicago: Fitzgerald. Print.
  9. Woulfe, Rev. Patrick. Irish Names and Surnames Collected and Edited with Explanatory and Historical Notes. Kansas City: Genealogical Foundation, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-940134-403).
  10. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  11. ...

The Cuffe Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Cuffe 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 24 June 2014 at 08:45.

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