The name Coffen has been recorded in British history since the time when the Anglo-Saxons
ruled over the region. The name is assumed to have been given to someone who was a person who made baskets. The surname Coffen is derived from the Old French words cofin
which in turn come from the Late Latin word cophinus,
which means basket. Occupational
names such as this one frequently were derived from the principal object associated with the activity of the original bearer, such as tools or products. These types of occupational
surnames are called metonymic surnames.
The English word coffin
is a specialized development of this word which did not exist before the 16th century. The surname Coffen may also be a nickname
derived from the Latin word calvus,
which means bald.
Early Origins of the Coffen family
The surname Coffen was first found in Devon
at Alwington, a parish, in the union of Bideford, hundred
of Shebbear, Great Torrington. "In the church [of Alwington], over the door of the chancel, is a curious ancient monument to a member of the Coffin family." CITATION[CLOSE]
Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
Early History of the Coffen family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Coffen research.Another 139 words (10 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Coffen History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Coffen Spelling Variations
The first dictionaries that appeared in the last few hundred years did much to standardize the English language. Before that time, spelling variations
in names were a common occurrence. The language was changing, incorporating pieces of other languages, and the spelling of names changed with it. Coffen has been spelled many different ways, including Coffin, Coffyn, Colvin, Caffin, Caffyn, Chafen, Chaffine and many more.
Early Notables of the Coffen family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Coffen Notables in all our PDF Extended History products
and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Coffen family to the New World and Oceana
Thousands of English families in this era began to emigrate the New World in search of land and freedom from religious and political persecution. Although the passage was expensive and the ships were dark, crowded, and unsafe, those who made the voyage safely were rewarded with opportunities unavailable to them in their homeland. Research into passenger and immigration lists has revealed some of the very first Coffens to arrive in North America: Francis Coffin who settled in Virginia in 1635.
The Coffen 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: Extant recte factis praemia
Motto Translation: Rewards await right actions.