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

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

The Taft name has descended through the generations from the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture. Their name comes from having lived in the parish of Toft in the county of Norfolk. This place-name was originally derived from the Old Norman word Topt which was used to denote those who lived in the trees or forest. There were other locations with the same name found in Cambridge, Lincolnshire and Warwickshire. The surname Taft is a habitation name that was originally derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads. The surname originated as a means of identifying individuals from a particular area. In the Middle Ages people often assumed the name of the place that they originally lived as their surname during the course of travel.

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Only recently has spelling become standardized in the English language. As the English language evolved in the Middle Ages, the spelling of names changed also. The name Taft has undergone many spelling variations, including Taft, Tafte, Toft, Tofte, Tofts, Tuffs and others.

First found in Cheshire where they held a family seat from very ancient times, before and after the Norman Conquest in 1066.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Taft research. Another 169 words(12 lines of text) covering the years 1296, 1698, 1689, 1750 and 1708 are included under the topic Early Taft History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 113 words(8 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Taft Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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To escape the unstable social climate in England of this time, many families boarded ships for the New World with the hope of finding land, opportunity, and greater religious and political freedom. Although the voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, those families that arrived often found greater opportunities and freedoms than they could have experienced at home. 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 Taft were among those contributors:

Taft Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Robert Taft, who landed in Braintree, Massachusetts in 1667

Taft Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Sarah Taft, who arrived in Virginia in 1705
  • Joseph Taft arrived in Maryland in 1774

Taft Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • A C Taft, aged 32, landed in Key West, Fla in 1838
  • Fred and R. P. Taft, arrived in San Francisco in 1850

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  • Robert Alphonso Taft (1889-1953), American Senator from Ohio, 1939-1953
  • Robert Taft Jr. (1917-1993), American Senator from Ohio, 1971-1976
  • Bob Taft (b. 1942), American Governor of Ohio, 1999-2007
  • Lorado Taft (1860-1936), American sculptor, writer and educator
  • Helen Herron Taft (1861-1943), American First Lady, wife of President Taft
  • President William Howard Taft (1857-1930), American politician, 27th President of the United States (1909-1913), 10th Chief Justice of the United States (19211930)


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  • Taft Family Gathering by Beatrice Taft Aldridge.
  • A Meeting of the Descendants of Ebenezer and Mary Howard Taft by Charlotte E. McShea.
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  1. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
  2. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  3. 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.
  4. Crispin, M. Jackson and Leonce Mary. Falaise Roll Recording Prominent Companions of William Duke of Normandy at the Conquest of England. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  5. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  6. Burke, Sir Bernard. Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry: Including American Families with British Ancestry. (2 Volumes). London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  7. Sanders, Joanne McRee Edition. English Settlers in Barbados 1637-1800. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. 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. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
  10. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
  11. ...

The Taft Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Taft 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 6 March 2014 at 13:23.

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