Show ContentsCluff History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The distinguished surname Cluff is of ancient Anglo-Saxon origin. It is derived from the Old English "cloh," meaning "ravine" or "steep-sided valley," and was first used to refer to a "dweller in the hollow." [1]

Early Origins of the Cluff family

The surname Cluff was first found in Denbighshire, where the most prominent branch of the family held a family seat from the 13th century. [2]

"The Cloughs of Plas Clough [Denbighshire] claim a Norman origin, from the Seigneurs de Rohan, and appeal to their name and arms for proof." [3]

By the 14th century the name was scattered throughout ancient Britain. The Lay Subsidy Rolls of 1332 listed Alicia del Clogh and Robert del Clogn in Lancashire. Later the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 listed Thomas del Clogh and Henricus de Cloghe. [4]

Exploring this last entry for Yorkshire, "the Cloughs belonged to an old gentle family of Thorp Stapleton, a member of which was a justice of the peace in the reign of James I. [Crabley] Clough is a West Riding hamlet." [5]

Early History of the Cluff family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cluff research. Another 143 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1270, 1570, 1730 and 1570 are included under the topic Early Cluff History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Cluff Spelling Variations

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 Clough, Cluf, Cluffe, Cluff, Cloughe, Clow, De Clue and many more.

Early Notables of the Cluff family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Richard Clough (d. 1570), Welsh "merchant and factor for Sir Thomas Gresham, came of a family which had been long seated in North Wales. His father, Richard Clough, was of...
Another 37 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Cluff Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Cluff Ranking

In the United States, the name Cluff is the 9,254th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [6]

United States Cluff migration to the United States +

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 Cluff or a variant listed above:

Cluff Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Hannah Cluff, who settled in Maryland in 1626

Canada Cluff migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Cluff Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Jonathan Cluff, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
Cluff Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Miss. Ann Cluff, aged 19 who was emigrating through Grosse Isle Quarantine Station, Quebec aboard the ship "Free Trader" departing 22nd June 1847 from Liverpool, England; the ship arrived on 1th August 1847 but she died on board [7]
  • Mr. Richard Cluff, aged 40 who was emigrating through Grosse Isle Quarantine Station, Quebec aboard the ship "Josepha" departing 9th May 1847 from Belfast, Ireland; the ship arrived on 18th June 1847 but he died on board [7]

Contemporary Notables of the name Cluff (post 1700) +

  • William Wallace Cluff (1832-1915), American Latter-day Saint missionary and leader
  • harvey H. Cluff (1836-1916), American business, civic and educational leader in late-19th-century Provo, Utah
  • Benjamin Cluff (1858-1948), American first President of Brigham Young University
  • William E. Cluff, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Ohio, 1924 [8]
  • William Cluff, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from California, 1896 [8]
  • John K. Cluff, American politician, Mayor of Tooele, Utah, 1982-83 [8]
  • Harvey H. Cluff (b. 1872), American Republican politician, District Attorney, 8th District, 1908-12; Chair of Utah County Republican Party, 1917-20; Utah State Attorney General, 1921-29 [8]
  • Florence Amy "Flo" Cluff (1902-1990), Australian trade unionist, communist and pensioner activist

The Cluff Motto +

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: Sine macula
Motto Translation: Without spot.

  1. Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. Print
  2. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  4. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  5. Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  6. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  7. Charbonneau, André, and Doris Drolet-Dubé. A Register of Deceased Persons at Sea and on Grosse Île in 1847. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, 1997. ISBN: 0-660-198/1-1997E (p. 69)
  8. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 15) . Retrieved from on Facebook