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

Origins Available: Irish-Alt, Irish

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

The Griffin surname is derived from the Welsh personal names Griffin, Gruffin, or Griffith. These were pet-forms of the Middle Welsh name Gruffudd, which was borne by many Welsh princes. The name came to Ireland in the 12th century with the Anglo- Norman invasion of Strongbow. There was also a native Irish line whose name originally appeared in Gaelic as O Gríobhtha, which is derived from the word "gríobhtha," which means "griffin-like." It is thought that most of the bearers of the Griffith variant of the name are of Welsh ancestry.


Spelling variations of this family name include: Griffin, O'Griffin, Griffen, O'Griffen, Griffith, Griffey, Griffy, O'Griffy and many more.

First found in the province of Munster, where they had been granted lands by Strongbow after the Anglo Norman invasion into Ireland in 1172.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Griffin research. Another 161 words(12 lines of text) covering the years 1st , 10, and 1710 are included under the topic Early Griffin History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 35 words(2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Griffin Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Griffin Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • Reginald Griffin, who landed in Virginia in 1621
  • Rise Griffin, aged 24, arrived in Virginia in 1621
  • Richard Griffin settled in Virginia in 1623
  • George Griffin who settled in St. Christopher in 1633 and later moved to Virginia
  • Elias Griffin, who arrived in Virginia in 1634

Griffin Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Owen Griffin, who landed in Virginia in 1701
  • Humphrey Griffin, who landed in Virginia in 1712
  • Henry Griffin, who arrived in Virginia in 1713
  • Ambrose Griffin, who arrived in Virginia in 1714
  • Andrew Griffin, who landed in Virginia in 1715

Griffin Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Lady Christina Griffin, who arrived in Virginia in 1807
  • Daw Griffin, who arrived in New York, NY in 1811
  • Benjamin Pitt Griffin, aged 27, arrived in New York in 1812
  • Jeremiah Griffin, aged 35, landed in New York in 1812
  • Geo Griffin, aged 19, landed in Key West, Fla in 1837


  • Walter Burley Griffin (1876-1937), American architect and landscape architect, eponym of Lake Burley Griffin, Canberra, Australia
  • James Bennett Griffin (1905-1997), American archaeologist regarded as one of the most influential archaeologists in North America in the 20th century
  • John Howard Griffin (1920-1980), American journalist and author famous for his 1961 book Black Like Me
  • General Benjamin S. Griffin (b. 1946), United States Army officer and former Deputy Chief of Staff
  • Blake Austin Griffin (b. 1989), American professional basketball player
  • Mervyn Edward "Merv" Griffin Jr. (1925-2007), American multi-million dollar entertainer and entrepreneur
  • Gerald D. "Gerry" Griffin (b. 1934), former NASA flight director and director of Johnson Space Center and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • Brigadier-General Samuel Marvin Griffin (1907-1982), American Adjutant-General of Georgia (1944-1947)
  • Robert Lee Griffin III (b. 1990), American NFL football quarterback for the Washington Redskins, winner of the 2011 Heisman Trophy
  • Archie Mason Griffin (b. 1954), former American football running back



  • Gershom & Phoebe Griffin, Their Ancestors and Descendants by Elaine Washburn Olney.
  • A Griffin and Related Families History by Paul E. Griffin.

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: Ne vile Velis
Motto Translation: Wishing nothing base.


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  1. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  2. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  3. Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
  4. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  5. Shirley, Evelyn Philip. Noble and Gentle Men of England Or Notes Touching The Arms and Descendants of the Ancient Knightley and Gentle Houses of England Arranged in their Respective Counties 3rd Edition. Westminster: John Bowyer Nichols and Sons, 1866. Print.
  6. Lennard, Reginald. Rural England 1086-1135 A Study of Social and Agrarian Conditions. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959. Print.
  7. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  8. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  9. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
  10. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  11. ...

The Griffin Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Griffin 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 30 October 2014 at 08:56.

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