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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

Where did the English Gifford family come from? When did the Gifford family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Gifford family history?

The name Gifford thought to be of Norman heritage. It is a name for a person who was a chubby cheeked or round faced person. Looking back even further, we found the name was originally derived from the Old French word giffard, which is a pejorative form of giffel, which means jaw.


Anglo-Norman names are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. When the Normans became the ruling people of England in the 11th century, they introduced a new language into a society where the main languages of Old and later Middle English had no definite spelling rules. These languages were more often spoken than written, so they blended freely with one another. Contributing to this mixing of tongues was the fact that medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, ensuring that a person's name would appear differently in nearly every document in which it was recorded. The name has been spelled Gifford, Giffard, Geffard, Gyfford, Gifferd, Geffard, Gifferd, Gyffard, Gyfferd, Gyford, Giford, Givard, Givord, Giverd and many more.

First found in Lancashire, where the family had been granted lands by King William for their assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gifford research. Another 261 words(19 lines of text) covering the years 1086, 1200, 1279, 1444, 1554, 1629, 1560, 1590, 1548, 1600, 1642, 1734, 1687, 1703, 1703 and 1734 are included under the topic Early Gifford History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 141 words(10 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Gifford Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Gifford family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 41 words(3 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


For many English families, the political and religious disarray that plagued their homeland made the frontiers of the New World an attractive prospect. Thousands migrated, aboard cramped disease-ridden ships. They arrived sick, poor, and hungry, but were welcomed in many cases with far greater opportunity than at home in England. Many of these hardy settlers went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Among early immigrants bearing the name Gifford or a variant listed above were:

Gifford Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Francis Gifford, who settled in Virginia in 1626
  • Edward Gifford, who landed in Virginia in 1635
  • Edward Gifford, aged 30, arrived in Virginia in 1635
  • Ursula Gifford, who landed in Maryland in 1638
  • William Gifford, who arrived in America in 1647

Gifford Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Jonathan Gifford, who arrived in Montserrat in 1710
  • Stephen Gifford, who landed in Virginia in 1712
  • Andrew Gifford, who arrived in Virginia in 1714
  • Samuel Gifford, who arrived in New England in 1717
  • Thomas Gifford, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1795

Gifford Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • William Tilfair Gifford, who arrived in New York in 1826
  • A Gifford, aged 45, arrived in Key West, Fla in 1838
  • George Gifford, who arrived in Washington County, Pennsylvania in 1847
  • John James Gifford, who landed in America in 1848
  • D B Gifford, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850

Gifford Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • Thomas Gifford, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1749

Gifford Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • John Gifford arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "John" in 1840
  • Lawrence Gifford, aged 30, a labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Charlotte Jane"
  • Joseph Gifford, aged 25, a labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Caucasian"
  • George Gifford, aged 31, a labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Ostrich"
  • Eliza Gifford, aged 23, a servant, arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Ostrich"

Gifford Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • James A. Gifford, aged 18, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Soukar" in 1874
  • Robert John Gifford, aged 14, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Soukar" in 1874
  • Jessie Gifford, aged 21, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Soukar" in 1874


  • Francis Newton Gifford (b. 1930), former American football player, well known American sports commentator
  • Robert Swain Gifford (1840-1905), American landscape painter
  • Frances Gifford (1920-1994), American actress
  • Gloria Gifford (1978-2006), American film and TV actress
  • Edric Frederick Gifford VC (1849-1911), 3rd Baron Gifford, English recipient of the Victoria Cross
  • Josh Gifford (b. 1941), English jockey
  • Norman Gifford (b. 1940), English cricketer
  • Algernon Charles Gifford (1861-1948), New Zealand astronomer, explorer, and teacher
  • Paul Gifford B.A., M.Litt. (b. 1944), Professor of African Christianity and Deputy Head of the Department of the Study of Religions in the School of Oriental and African Studies
  • Adam Gifford (1820-1887), Lord Gifford, Scottish advocate and judge; benefactor of the Gifford Lectures endowment



  • The Genealogy of the Gifford Family from Massachusetts to Maine by Christine R. Brown.
  • Seitter-Gifford Family by Audrey Seitter-Gifford.


  1. 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.
  2. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  3. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  4. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  5. 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.
  6. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
  7. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  8. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  9. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  10. 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.
  11. ...

This page was last modified on 18 January 2015 at 18:37.

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