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

Origins Available: Dutch, English, German, Irish

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

The Wolfe family name is thought to be of Norman origins. It comes from an early member of the family who was a person who bore some fancied resemblance to the wolf, either in appearance or behavior.


Endless spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled Wolfe, Wolf, Woolf, Woolfe, Wolff, de Wolfe and many more.

First found in Cheshire where they were descended from Hugh Lupus (Wolf,) the Earl of Chester, and chief subject of King William the Conqueror.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Wolfe research. Another 201 words(14 lines of text) covering the year 1202 is included under the topic Early Wolfe History in all our PDF Extended History products.


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


Some of the Wolfe family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 105 words(8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


To escape the political and religious persecution within England at the time, many English families left for the various British colonies abroad. The voyage was extremely difficult, though, and the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving. But for those who made it, the trip was most often worth it. Many of the families who arrived went on to make valuable contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Wolfe or a variant listed above:

Wolfe Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • Peter Wolfe, who landed in Salem, Massachusetts in 1634
  • William Wolfe, who landed in Maryland in 1640
  • Richard Wolfe, who landed in Virginia in 1646
  • Robert Wolfe, who arrived in Virginia in 1654
  • Richard Wolfe settled in Barbados in 1654 along with John, and Elizabeth

Wolfe Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Anna Margt Wolfe, aged 13, landed in New York in 1710
  • Hans Wolfe, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1743
  • Coenrad Wolfe, who arrived in New York in 1769-1770
  • Benjamin Wolfe, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1795

Wolfe Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Thomas Wolfe, aged 29, arrived in St Louis, Missouri in 1839
  • Francis Wolfe, aged 35, arrived in St Louis, Missouri in 1841
  • Charles Williams Wolfe, who landed in Arkansas in 1844
  • Henry Wolfe, who arrived in Somerset County, Pennsylvania in 1848
  • James Wolfe, who landed in Texas in 1850-1906


  • Thomas Clayton Wolfe (1900-1938), American novelist, considered one of the most important writers in modern American literature
  • Thomas Kennerley "Tom" Wolfe (b. 1931), American author and journalist, winner of the Dos Passos Prize for literature (1984)
  • Jack Albert Wolfe (1936-2005), American paleontologist
  • Frances Wolfe (1926-2013), birth name of Fran Warren, an American popular singer
  • General James Wolfe (1727-1759), English military officer remembered mainly for his role defeating the French in Canada and establishing British rule
  • William "Billy" Wolfe (b. 1924), former leader of the Scottish National Party
  • Charles Wolfe (1791-1823), Irish poet


  • The Wolf, Wolfe, Wolff Families of Pennsylvania by Raymond Alvin Wolff.
  • Joe Garrett: A Pictorial and Written History fo the Joseph Luther Garrett Family, 1860-1935.
  • The Wolfe Family in Raleigh by Richard Walser.

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: Fides in adversis
Motto Translation: faith in adversity


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  1. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  2. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  3. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  4. Sanders, Joanne McRee Edition. English Settlers in Barbados 1637-1800. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  5. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  6. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  7. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  8. Innes, Thomas and Learney. The Tartans of the Clans and Families of Scotland 1st Edition. Edinburgh: W & A. K. Johnston Limited, 1938. Print.
  9. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  10. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  11. ...

The Wolfe Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Wolfe 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 5 March 2014 at 08:48.

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