Gift History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
Today's generation of the Gift family bears a name that was brought to England by the migration wave that was started by the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Gift family lived in Staffordshire with now extinct branches in Devon, Southampton and Buckinghamshire.  Some references claim that the surname was a nickname for a chubby cheeked or round faced person having derived from the Old French word "giffard," a pejorative form of "giffel," meaning "jaw." This is not the case.
"The old historical Giffards of Normandy and England descended from the De Bollebecs, who were connected by marriage with Richard I, Duke of Normandy. Walter, son of de Bollebec, though surnamed 'Gifford,' or 'the Liberal,' seems to have been conservative in the acquisition and retention of lands; for he got not only the fair domain of Longueville, from Richard II of Normandy, but also the Earldom of Buckinghamshire." 
Early Origins of the Gift family
The surname Gift was first found in Devon, Southampton, Buckinghamshire and Staffordshire. As mentioned above, the surviving Staffordshire branch has remained there since the reign of Henry II when Peter Gifford became Lord of the Manor of Chillington. 
Chillington Hall is a Georgian country house near Brewood in Staffordshire. The current estate is the third manor on the site - the first stone castle was built by the family in the 12th century and part of the current cellar contains some of the original foundation. Another branch of the family was found at Great Blakenham in Suffolk.
"Walter Gifford, Earl of Buckingham, appropriated the manor, in the time of William II., to the monks of Bec in Normandy, who established a cell here." 
Little is known of Walter Gifford other than he was Vice-Chancellor and Chancellor of the University of Oxford in 1311. Bletchley in Buckinghamshire was another family seat.
"Walter Gifford, Earl of Buckingham, possessed by grant from William Rufus the whole landed property of this parish, which was inherited by Richard de Clare, Earl of Hertford, who had married his granddaughter, Roesia." 
Important Dates for the Gift family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gift research. Another 131 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1086, 1200, 1279, 1444, 1496, 1557, 1536, 1554, 1613, 1554, 1629, 1560, 1590, 1548, 1600, 1642, 1734, 1687, 1703, 1703 and 1734 are included under the topic Early Gift History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Gift Spelling Variations
Before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, Norman French and other languages became incorporated into English throughout the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the literate. The variations of the surname Gift include Gifford, Giffard, Geffard, Gyfford, Gifferd, Geffard, Gifferd, Gyffard, Gyfferd, Gyford, Giford, Givard, Givord, Giverd and many more.
Early Notables of the Gift family (pre 1700)
Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Sir Alexander Gifford; George Gifford (by 1496-1557) an English politician, Member of Parliament for Buckingham in 1536 and Buckinghamshire in April 1554; George Gifford (died 1613), English politician, Member of Parliament for Morpeth and Cricklade; Gabriel Gifford (1554-1629), Catholic Archbishop of Reims; Gilbert Gifford (1560-1590), English double agent who...
Another 57 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Gift Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Gift family to Ireland
Some of the Gift family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Gift migration to the United States
In England at this time, the uncertainty of the political and religious environment of the time caused many families to board ships for distant British colonies in the hopes of finding land and opportunity, and escaping persecution. The voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, though, and many arrived in North America sick, starved, and destitute. Those who did make it, however, were greeted with greater opportunities and freedoms that they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Early immigration records have shown some of the first Gifts to arrive on North American shores:
Typical Gift Emigration from the United Kingdom to North America
Gift Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
- John Nich Gift, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1765 
- Matthias Gift, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1765 
- Peter Gift, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1765 
Contemporary Notables of the name Gift (post 1700)
- Weldon A. Gift (1895-1977), American Republican politician, Member of Michigan Republican State Central Committee, 1939; Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Michigan, 1940 
- Virginia Gift, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Democrats Abroad, 1980, 1984 
- Emil Gift, famous singer known as Emil Grift
- Albert Gift (b. 1890), prominent German business manager
- Barron Gift Collier (1873-1939), American advertising entrepreneur
You May Also Like
- ^ Shirley, Evelyn Philip, The Noble and Gentle Men of England; The Arms and Descents. Westminster: John Bower Nichols and Sons, 1866, Print.
- ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
- ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
- ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
- ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 17) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html