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

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

Topliff is one of the many new names that came to England following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Topliff family lived in Yorkshire. The name is derived from a combination of the Old English personal name Topp, and the word leah, meaning wood or clearing, and indicates that the original bearer lived near a wood or clearing owned by someone named Topp.

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Anglo-Norman names tend to be marked by an enormous number of spelling variations. This is largely due to the fact that Old and Middle English lacked any spelling rules when Norman French was introduced in the 11th century. The languages of the English courts at that time were French and Latin. These various languages mixed quite freely in the evolving social milieu. The final element of this mix is that medieval scribes spelled words according to their sounds rather than any definite rules, so a name was often spelled in as many different ways as the number of documents it appeared in. The name was spelled Topley, Topler, Topliffe, Topcliff, Topclive, Toppley, Topleif, Toplief, Toplis and many more.

First found in Yorkshire where they are conjecturally descended from a junior branch of the Percys. Topcliff or Topclive was granted to a Norman Baron named William Percy who later became the Earl of Northumberland and one of the most senior mighty nobles of the land. At the time of the Conquest, Topcliff consisted of a church and a mill on the side of the banks of the River Swale.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Topliff research. Another 197 words(14 lines of text) covering the years 1391, 1451, 1740 and 1778 are included under the topic Early Topliff History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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

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Because of the political and religious discontent in England, families began to migrate abroad in enormous numbers. Faced with persecution and starvation at home, the open frontiers and generally less oppressive social environment of the New World seemed tantalizing indeed to many English people. The trip was difficult, and not all made it unscathed, but many of those who did get to Canada and the United States made important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers with Topliff name or one of its variants:

Topliff Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Clement Topliff, who arrived in Dorchester, Massachusetts in 1637

Topliff Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • J. Topliff settled in Boston Massachusetts in 1822 and later moved to Charlestown Massachusetts

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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, 1968. Print.
  2. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  3. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  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. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  6. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  7. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  8. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  9. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
  10. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  11. ...

The Topliff Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Topliff 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 7 July 2014 at 15:19.

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