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

Origins Available: English, Welsh

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

The Jefferson surname is a patronymic name that comes from the personal names Geoffrey and Godfrey. These names appear in Old English as Geffrey and in Old French as Jefroi or Jeufroi. The surname Jefferson makes use of the patronymic suffix -son, which had superseded all other such suffixes in popularity by the 14th century, and was most common in the north of Britain. This suffix was sometimes abbreviated to -s.


Welsh surnames are relatively few in number, but they have an inordinately large number of spelling variations. There are many factors that explain the preponderance of Welsh variants, but the earliest is found during the Middle Ages when Welsh surnames came into use. Scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, which often resulted in a single person's name being inconsistently recorded over his lifetime. The transliteration of Welsh names into English also accounts for many of the spelling variations: the unique Brythonic Celtic language of the Welsh had many sounds the English language was incapable of accurately reproducing. It was also common for members of a same surname to change their names slightly, in order to signify a branch loyalty within the family, a religious adherence, or even patriotic affiliations. For all of these reasons, the many spelling variations of particular Welsh names are very important. The surname Jefferson has occasionally been spelled Jeffers, Jefferson, Jeffson, Jephson and others.

First found in Herefordshire, 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 1060 A.D.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Jefferson research. Another 235 words(17 lines of text) covering the years 1821, 1720, 1691, 1720 and 1797 are included under the topic Early Jefferson History in all our PDF Extended History products.


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


Some of the Jefferson family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 95 words(7 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


The Welsh migration to North America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries contributed greatly to its rapid development. These migrants were in search of land, work, and freedom. Those Welsh families that survived the long ocean journey were critical to the development of new industries and factories, and to the quick settlement of land. They also added to an ever-growing rich cultural heritage. A search of the immigration and passenger lists has shown a number of people bearing the name Jefferson:

Jefferson Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • John Jefferson settled in Virginia in 1620
  • James Jefferson, who landed in Virginia in 1638
  • Robert Jefferson, who landed in Virginia in 1639
  • Alice Jefferson, who arrived in Virginia in 1648
  • Mary Jefferson settled in Virginia in 1653

Jefferson Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Edwd Jefferson, who arrived in Virginia in 1704
  • Weldon Jefferson, who arrived in Virginia in 1704
  • Frances Jefferson, who landed in Virginia in 1711

Jefferson Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Thomas Jefferson, who landed in New York in 1836
  • T H Jefferson, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850
  • William Jefferson, who landed in Mississippi in 1853


  • President Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), American politician, 3rd American President
  • Margo Lillian Jefferson (b. 1947), American theater critic at The New York Times awarded the 1995 Pulitzer Prize for Criticism
  • Willie "Bill" Jefferson (1904-1976), American Negro league baseball pitcher who played from 1937 and 1948, Negro League World Series Champion (1945)
  • George Leo "Jeff" Jefferson (1922-1985), American Negro league baseball pitcher who played from 1942 and 1950, Negro League World Series Champion (1945)
  • William Jefferson, American politician, 42nd President of the United States
  • John Jefferson (b. 1956), American professional football player, played with the San Diego Chargers, Green Bay Packers, and the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League
  • Martha Wayles Skelton Jefferson (1748-1782), American First Lady, wife of President Jefferson
  • Arthur Stanley Jefferson (1890-1965), original name of Stan Laurel, English comic actor, best known for his work as Laurel and Hardy
  • Blind Lemon Jefferson (1897-1930), American country blues guitarist and vocalist
  • Joseph Jefferson (1829-1905), American stage actor and painter



  • Collected Papers to Commemorate Fifty Years of the Monticello Association of the Descendants of Thomas Jefferson by George Green Shackelford.

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: A cruce salus
Motto Translation: Salvation from the cross.


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  1. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-005-8).
  2. Davies, R. R. The Age of Conquest: Wales, 1063-1415. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. Print.
  3. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  4. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  5. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
  6. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  7. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  8. Morgan, T. J. Morgan and Prys Morgan. Welsh Surnames. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1985. 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. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  11. ...

The Jefferson Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Jefferson 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 28 March 2014 at 14:23.

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