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Where did the English Clifford family come from? When did the Clifford family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Clifford family history?Clifford is an ancient Norman name that arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Clifford family lived in one of the parishes by the name of Clifford in Herefordshire, Gloucestershire.
Norman surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are largely due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England, as well as the official court languages of Latin and French, also had pronounced influences on the spelling of surnames. Since medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings. The name has been spelled Clifford, Cliffort, Clifforde, Clifforte and others.
First found in Herefordshire at Clifford, a village and civil parish on the south bank of the River Wye which dates back to the Domesday Book of 1086 where it was listed as Cliford. Clifford Castle which is located there is an early motte and bailey castle built on a cliff overlooking a ford on the River Wye in 1070 by William Fitzpond. His heir forfeited the lands and castle after and unsuccessful rebellion against the King in 1075. Walter Fitz Richard later took the name of Walter de Clifford after he seized the Castle c. 1162. Walter de Clifford III, grandson of Walter Fitz Richard rebelled against King Henry III in 1233 and was forced to surrender to the king after just a few days of a besiege. He made his peace with the king and led his troops against Prince Llywelyn ab Iorwerth. While the family claim descent from the Herefordshire village, Clifford is a small village in the City of Leeds, West Yorkshire; and Clifford Chambers is a village two miles south of Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire. Both of these locations are ancient in their own right; Clifford, Yorkshire is listed in the Domesday Book and Clifford Chambers dating back to 922 was listed as Clifforda. Part of the reason there is more than one location so named is that the location name means "ford at a cliff or bank" from the Old English words clif + ford. 
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Clifford research. Another 313 words(22 lines of text) covering the years 1068, 1274, 1314, 1493, 1542, 1517, 1570, 1558, 1605, 1670, 1630, 1673, 1660, 1672, 1677, 1622, 1698, 1663, 1730, 1700, 1732 and are included under the topic Early Clifford History in all our PDF Extended History products.
Another 307 words(22 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Clifford Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.
Some of the Clifford family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 125 words(9 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.
Many English families emigrated to North American colonies in order to escape the political chaos in Britain at this time. Unfortunately, many English families made the trip to the New World under extremely harsh conditions. Overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the stormy Atlantic. Despite these hardships, many of the families prospered and went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the United States and Canada. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the name Clifford or a variant listed above:
Clifford Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
- Oliver and Marie Clifford settled in Virginia in 1635
- Marie Clifford, aged 25, landed in America in 1635
- Caver Clifford, aged 18, arrived in Virginia in 1635
- Oliver Clifford, who landed in Virginia in 1640
- George Clifford settled in Boston Massachusetts in 1645, member of the Artillery Company
Clifford Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
- Susana Clifford, who arrived in Virginia in 1705
- Andrew Clifford, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1746
Clifford Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
- James Clifford, aged 27, arrived in New York in 1800
- A C Clifford, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850
- John Clifford, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County Pennsylvania in 1852
- C Clifford, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1856
- Catharine Clifford, aged 30, arrived in New York in 1864
Clifford Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
- Mary Clifford, aged 20, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1833 aboard the brig "Thomas Hanford" from Cork
- Timothy Clifford, aged 30, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1837 aboard the brig "Thetis" from Cork
- Nelly Clifford, aged 30, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1837 aboard the brig "Thetis" from Cork
- Peggy Clifford, aged 28, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1837 aboard the brig "Thetis" from Cork
Clifford Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
- Thomas Clifford, English convict from London, who was transported aboard the "Anson" on September 23, 1843, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia
- Margaret Clifford arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Isabella Watson" in 1846
- William Clifford arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Isabella Watson" in 1846
- Henry Clifford, English convict from Staffordshire, who was transported aboard the "Adelaide" on August 08, 1849, settling in Van Diemen's Land and Port Phillip, Australia
- John Clifford, aged 19, a labourer, arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "British Empire" in 1850
Clifford Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
- Alphonzo Charles Clifford landed in Flaxburn, Middle Is, New Zealand in 1840
- Charles Clifford landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840 aboard the ship George Fife
- Charles Clifford, aged 37, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Phoebe Dunbar" in 1841850
- Mary Ann Clifford, aged 30, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Phoebe Dunbar" in 1841850
- George H. Clifford, aged 2, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Phoebe Dunbar" in 1841850
- Clark McAdams Clifford (1906-1998), American lawyer and politician, 9th U.S. Secretary of Defense (1968-1969), recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
- Lieutenant Colonel Michael Richard "Rich" Clifford (b. 1952), former NASA Astronaut with 665 hours in space
- Doug "Cosmo" Clifford (b. 1945), American drummer for the rock band, Creedence Clearwater Revival
- John Gary Clifford (b. 1942), award-winning American historian
- Mr. George Quincy Clifford (d. 1912), aged 40, American First Class passenger from Stoughton, Massachusetts who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking
- Nathan Clifford (1803-1881), American statesman, diplomat and jurist, 19th United States Attorney General (1846-1848)
- John Henry Clifford (1809-1876), American lawyer and politician, 21st Governor of Massachusetts (1853-1854), 9th & 11th Massachusetts Attorney General (1849-1853) and (1854-1858)
- Patrick Clifford (b. 1966), American musician, songwriter, and producer of Irish and folk music
- William Clifford (1877-1941), American actor and screenwriter of the silent era who appeared in 170 films between 1910 and 1929
- William Kingdon Clifford FRS (1845-1879), English mathematician and philosopher; he introduced what is now termed geometric algebra, a special case of the eponymous Clifford algebra
- The Family Histories of the Cliffords and Rollins by Leslie G. Perry.
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