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

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

The name Gafford was formed many centuries ago by the early Norman settlers that followed the 1066 Conquest of the island. It was a name typically given to 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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Spelling variations in names were a common occurrence in the eras before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago. In the Middle Ages, even the literate regularly changed the spellings of their names as the English language incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other European languages. Many variations of the name Gafford have been found, including 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 Gafford 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 Gafford 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 Gafford Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Gafford 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 social climate in England was oppressive and lacked opportunity for change. For such families, the shores of Ireland, Australia, and the New World beckoned. They left their homeland at great expense in ships that were overcrowded and full of disease. Many arrived after the long voyage sick, starving, and without a penny. But even those were greeted with greater opportunity than they could have experienced back home. Numerous English settlers who arrived in the United States and Canada at this time went on to make important contributions to the developing cultures of those countries. Many of those families went on to make significant contributions to the rapidly developing colonies in which they settled. Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name Gafford were among those contributors:

Gafford Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Mary Gafford, who landed in Maryland in 1651

Gafford Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Thoma W. Gafford, aged 24, who emigrated to the United States from Southampton, in 1897

Gafford Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century


  • Thomas W. Gafford, aged 30, who landed in America from Guilford, in 1903
  • Mary Gafford, aged 46, who settled in America, in 1910
  • Helen Gafford, aged 54, who emigrated to the United States, in 1914
  • Anne W. Gafford, aged 45, who settled in America, in 1914
  • Bryan Gafford, aged 25, who landed in America, in 1922

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  • Thomas Edward Gafford (b. 1983), American NFL football long snapper for the Kansas City Chiefs
  • Carl Gafford (b. 1953), American colorist in the comics industry who has worked for Marvel Comics and DC Comics


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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: Malo mori quam foedari
Motto Translation: I would rather die than be disgraced.

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  1. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  2. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  3. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  4. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  5. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  6. 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.
  7. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  8. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  9. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  10. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  11. ...

The Gafford Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Gafford 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 January 2014 at 13:07.

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