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

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

While this surname is generally regarded as Irish, we must look further back to properly understand its origin. Taff is actually derived from the Welsh name Taaffe, which is a form of the personal name David and is related to the modern pet name Taffy. The Irish Gaelic form of the surname Taff is Táth, which is pronounced, and indeed, often spelled, Taa.

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Medieval scribes and church officials spelt names simply the way they sounded, which explains the various name spelling variations of the name Taff that were encountered when researching that surname. The many spelling variations included: Taafe, Taaf, Taffe, Taffee, Taffie, Taffey and others.

First found in County Louth (Irish: Lú) the smallest county in Ireland, located on the East coast, in the Province of Leinster where the family rapidly rose to positions of great importance shortly after their settlement during the Anglo- Norman invasion of Ireland. By example, Sir Nicholas Taafe's grandson, Richard Taafe seated at Castle Lumpnagh was Sheriff of Dublin in 1295, and later Sheriff of County Louth in 1315. His son was Archbishop of Armagh. This line of early nobility continued well into the 14th and 15th centuries with more Sheriffs of Louth on record.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Taff research. Another 271 words(19 lines of text) covering the years 1284, 1441, 1649, 1641, 1603, 1677, 1642, 1661, 1639 and 1704 are included under the topic Early Taff History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 149 words(11 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Taff Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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A great number of Irish families left their homeland in the late 18th century and throughout the 19th century, migrating to such far away lands as Australia and North America. The early settlers left after much planning and deliberation. They were generally well off but they desired a tract of land that they could farm solely for themselves. The great mass of immigrants to arrive on North American shores in the 1840s differed greatly from their predecessors because many of them were utterly destitute, selling all they had to gain a passage on a ship or having their way paid by a philanthropic society. These Irish people were trying to escape the aftermath of the Great Potato Famine: poverty, starvation, disease, and, for many, ultimately death. Those that arrived on North American shores were not warmly welcomed by the established population, but they were vital to the rapid development of the industry, agriculture, and infrastructure of the infant nations of the United States and what would become Canada. Early passenger and immigration lists reveal many Irish settlers bearing the name Taff:

Taff Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • James Taff, aged 25, landed in New York in 1812

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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: In hoc signo spes mea
Motto Translation: In this sign is my hope.

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  1. 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 Co., 1992. Print.
  2. Rasmussen, Louis J. . San Francisco Ship Passenger Lists 4 Volumes Colma, California 1965 Reprint. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1978. Print.
  3. Fitzgerald, Thomas W. Ireland and Her People A Library of Irish Biography 5 Volumes. Chicago: Fitzgerald. Print.
  4. Land Owners in Ireland. Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1203-3).
  5. MacLysaght, Edward. Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7).
  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. Vicars, Sir Arthur. Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland 1536-1810. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  8. 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).
  9. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  10. Donovan, George Francis. The Pre-Revolutionary Irish in Massachusetts 1620-1775. Menasha, WI: Geroge Banta Publsihing Co., 1932. Print.
  11. ...

The Taff Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Taff 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 2013 at 12:09.

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