Show ContentsAlford History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Alford first arose amongst the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. It is derived from their having lived beside or close to an old ford.

Early Origins of the Alford family

The surname Alford was first found in Lincolnshire at Alford, a market-town and parish, in the union of Spilsby, Wold division of the hundred of Calceworth. [1] The place name derives its name from an old ford over a stream that twice runs through it. The first record of the place name was found in the Domesday Book of 1086 where it was listed as Alforde. [2]

Alford Manor House is located there and is believed to be the largest thatched manor house in England, built about 1611. Alford Windmill is a five-sailed windmill, the only survivor of the four original windmills that operates today grinding grain to organic flour.

Alford is also a village and parish on the River Alham, in Somerset. This latter local was listed in the Domesday Book as Aldedeford and in this case it literally meant "ford of a woman called Ealdgyth." [3] "In the 9th of Elizabeth, Francis Alforde claimed the manor [of Widness with Appleton in Lancashire] by grant from the queen." [1]

Another Alford is found in Surrey where it is a village and civil parish on the West Sussex border. It is difficult to determine which of these parishes was the original home of this family, but more than likely the Lincolnshire estates were the first owned by the family group. The family later migrated to Berkshire, where it became a family of great prominence.

Early rolls confirmed the Lincolnshire origin as Alan de Alforde was recorded there and later, Robert de Auford was listed in the Feet of Fines for 1202. Thomas de Aldeford was listed in the Subsidy Rolls for Worcestershire in 1275 and much later, Henry Alforde was recorded in Devon in 1642. [4]

Early History of the Alford family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Alford research. Another 150 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1184, 1273, 1275, 1634, 1641, 1763, 1908, 1587, 1652, 1587, 1590, 1649, 1626, 1648, 1595, 1653, 1628, 1644, 1645, 1691, 1679, 1690, 1626, 1636, 1686 and 1761 are included under the topic Early Alford History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Alford Spelling Variations

One relatively recent invention that did much to standardize English spelling was the printing press. However, before its invention even the most literate people recorded their names according to sound rather than spelling. The spelling variations under which the name Alford has appeared include Allford, Alford, Aleford, Aldeford, Alforde, Allferd, Alferd, Allforth, Alforth, Alsford and many more.

Early Notables of the Alford family (pre 1700)

Notables of the family at this time include Michael Alford (1587-1652), a Jesuit and ecclesiastical historian, whose real name was Griffiths, was born in London in 1587; John Alford (c. 1590-1649), an English landowner and politician who sat in the House of Commons between 1626 and 1648; Sir Edward Alford (ca. 1595-1653), an English landowner and politician who sat...
Another 58 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Alford Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Alford Ranking

In the United States, the name Alford is the 894th most popular surname with an estimated 32,331 people with that name. [5]

United States Alford migration to the United States +

At this time, the shores of the New World beckoned many English families that felt that the social climate in England was oppressive and lacked opportunity for change. Thousands left England at great expense in ships that were overcrowded and full of disease. A great portion of these settlers never survived the journey and even a greater number arrived sick, starving, and without a penny. The survivors, however, were often greeted with greater opportunity than they could have experienced back home. These English settlers made significant contributions to those colonies that would eventually become the United States and Canada. An examination of early immigration records and passenger ship lists revealed that people bearing the name Alford arrived in North America very early:

Alford Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Richard Alford, who settled in Virginia in 1624 at the age of 26
  • Benedict Alford, who arrived in Connecticut in 1637 [6]
  • Anthony Alford, who landed in Virginia in 1656 [6]
  • William Alford, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1658 [6]
  • John Alford, went to Virginia in 1663
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Alford Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Remain Alford, who arrived in New London, Connecticut in 1709 [6]
  • Joseph Alford, who arrived in Mississippi in 1798 [6]
Alford Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • James Alford, aged 22, who landed in Maryland in 1813 [6]

Canada Alford migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Alford Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • James Alford, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750

Australia Alford migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Alford Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Alford, English convict from Wiltshire, who was transported aboard the "Arab" on July 3, 1822, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [7]
  • Mr. Richard Alford, (Hawforth), English convict who was convicted in South Holland (Holland), Lincolnshire, England for 10 years, transported aboard the "Augusta Jessie" on 10th August 1838, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [8]
  • Joseph Alford, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Abberton" in 1846 [9]
  • Mr. Robert Alford, (b. 1806), aged 42, Cornish agricultural labourer from St. Anthony, Cornwall, UK departing from Plymouth on 15th June 1848 aboard the ship "Tasman" arriving in Port Phillip, Victoria, Australia on 18th October 1848 [10]
  • Mrs. Anne Alford, (b. 1818), aged 30, Cornish house keeper from St. Anthony, Cornwall, UK departing from Plymouth on 15th June 1848 aboard the ship "Tasman" arriving in Port Phillip, Victoria, Australia on 18th October 1848 [10]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Alford migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Alford Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • William Alford, aged 20, a gardener, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Dilharree" in 1875

West Indies Alford migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [11]
Alford Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Mr. Nicholas Alford, aged 28 who arrived in St. Kitts (St Christopher) aboard the ship "Amity" in 1635 [6]

Contemporary Notables of the name Alford (post 1700) +

  • Clarence "Dean" Alford (b. 1953), American politician and businessman
  • Jason "Jay" Jamaal Alford (b. 1983), American football defensive tackle
  • William P. Alford (b. 1948), United States legal scholar
  • Rear Admiral William VanMeter Alford Jr., Chief of Staff for the United States Pacific Command (2004 to 2007)
  • Chalmers Edward "Spanky" Alford (1955-2008), American three time Grammy winning jazz guitarist
  • Stephen Todd Alford (b. 1964), retired American basketball player
  • William Robert "Red" Alford (1937-2003), American mathematician
  • Henry Alford (1810-1871), English churchman, theologian, textual critic, scholar, poet and hymnodist, Dean of Canterbury, editor of the Greek Testament [12]
  • Marianne Margaret Alford (1817-1888), Viscountess Alford, an English artist, art patron, and author
  • John Alford (b. 1941), English cricketer
  • ... (Another 7 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Royal Oak
  • Edward C. Alford, British Able Seaman with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak (1939) when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he survived the sinking [13]

Suggested Readings for the name Alford +

  • The Alford-Drake Family of Middle Tennessee by Naomi Hailey.
  • The Alford-Kennedy Family History by Eileen Alford.

  1. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  3. Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  4. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  5. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  6. 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)
  7. State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Arab voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1822 with 155 passengers. Retrieved from
  8. Convict Records of Australia. Retrieved 23rd August 2020 from
  9. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) ABBERTON 1846. Retrieved from
  10. Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retreived 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from
  12. Wikisource contributors. "Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900." Wikisource . Wikisource , 4 Jun. 2018. Web. 17 Apr. 2019
  13. Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from on Facebook