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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016

Origins Available: English, Irish

The Cuffe surname comes from the Middle English word "cuffe," which meant "glove." It is thought that the name was originally an occupational name for a maker or seller of gloves. Although most instances of the name in Ireland were through migration from England, there were native Irish bearers of Cuffe from the Gaelic form of O Duirnin. Although this name is usually Anglicized as Durnin, it had occasionally become "Cuffe" through mistranslation, since the Gaelic word "dorn" refers to "a fist."


The surname Cuffe was first found in Kilkenny (Irish: Cill Chainnigh), the former Kingdom of Osraige (Ossory), located in Southeastern Ireland in the province of Leinster, where they held a family seat from very ancient times.

Irish names were rarely spelled consistently in the Middle Ages. Spelling variations of the name Cuffe dating from that time include Cuff, Cuffe, Couffe, Couff, Cuffy, Cuffey, Cuffie and others.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cuffe research. Another 203 words (14 lines of text) covering the years 1670, 1678, 1641, 1694, 1744, 1737, 1804 and 1821 are included under the topic Early Cuffe History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 157 words (11 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Cuffe Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


The 19th century saw a great wave of Irish families leaving Ireland for the distant shores of North America and Australia. These families often left their homeland hungry, penniless, and destitute do to the policies of England. Those Irish immigrants that survived the long sea passage initially settled on the eastern seaboard of the continent. Some, however, moved north to a then infant Canada as United Empire Loyalists after ironically serving with the English in the American War of Independence. Others that remained in America later joined the westward migration in search of land. The greatest influx of Irish immigrants, though, came to North America during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. Thousands left Ireland at this time for North America, and those who arrived were immediately put to work building railroads, coal mines, bridges, and canals. In fact, the foundations of today's powerful nations of the United Sates and Canada were to a larger degree built by the Irish. Archival documents indicate that members of the Cuffe family relocated to North American shores quite early:

Cuffe Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Martin Cuffe, who landed in Virginia in 1622
  • Martin Cuffe who settled in Virginia in 1623
  • John and Thomas Cuffe arrived in Virginia in 1670
  • Richard Cuffe settled in Jamaica in 1670

Cuffe Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Annie Cuffe, aged 3, who emigrated to the United States from Glasgow, in 1892

Cuffe Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • Mary Cuffe, aged 74, who landed in America from Donegal, in 1904
  • Mary Cuffe, aged 42, who settled in America from Ballaghaderin, Ireland, in 1907
  • Edward Cuffe, aged 20, who emigrated to America from Hamilton, England, in 1907
  • Annie Cuffe, aged 18, who landed in America from Dugort, Ireland, in 1908
  • Edward Cuffe, aged 22, who landed in America from Hiost, England, in 1909

Cuffe Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century

  • Edith Annie Cuffe, aged 41, who emigrated to Toronto, Canada, in 1910
  • Thomas E. Cuffe, aged 41, who settled in Toronto, Canada, in 1910
  • Thos. E. Cuffe, aged 42, who emigrated to Toronto, Canada, in 1910
  • Fred Cuffe, aged 34, who settled in Toronto, Ont., in 1913
  • Henry J. Cuffe, aged 37, who settled in Toronto, Ont., in 1913

Cuffe Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Mary Cuffe, Irish convict from Waterford, who was transported aboard the "Arabian" in November 22nd, 1846, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Austraila


  • Selena Senora Cuffe (b. 1975), African-American businesswoman, co-fonder of Heritage Link Brands, LLC
  • Paul Cuffe (1759-1817), sometimes spelt Cuffee, an American Quaker businessman, sea captain, patriot, and abolitionist
  • Mike Cuffe, American Republican politician, Member of Montana State House of Representatives 2nd District; Elected 2010
  • William Ulick O'Connor Cuffe (1845-1898), 4th Earl of Desart, an Irish peer
  • John Otway O'Conner Cuffe (1818-1865), 3rd Earl of Desart, an Irish Conservative politician, Under-Secretary of State for War and the Colonies in 1852
  • Ellen Odette Cuffe (1857-1933), Countess of Desart, née Bischoffsheim, an Irish politician, company director and philanthropist
  • Charles Richard Cuffe (1914-1972), Irish cricketer
  • James Cuffe (1778-1828), Irish politician, Member of Parliament for Tralee (1819-1828); he was the illegitimate son of James Cuffe, 1st Baron Tyrawley
  • James Cuffe (1747-1821), 1st Baron Tyrawley, an Irish peer and politician, Member of Parliament for Mayo (1768-1797), and for Donegal Borough (1776-1777)
  • James Cuffe (1707-1762), Irish landowner in County Mayo



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: Animus tamen idem
Motto Translation: Yet our mind is unchanged.


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  1. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  2. Kennedy, Patrick. Kennedy's Book of Arms. Canterbury: Achievements, 1967. Print.
  3. 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.
  4. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  5. Woodham-Smith, Cecil. The Great Hunger Ireland 1845-1849. New York: Old Town Books, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-385-3).
  6. MacLysaght, Edward. Mores Irish Familes. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-0126-0).
  7. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  8. Sullivan, Sir Edward. The Book of Kells 3rd Edition. New York: Crescent Books, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-517-61987-3).
  9. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  10. McDonnell, Frances. Emigrants from Ireland to America 1735-1743 A Transcription of the report of the Irish House of Commons into Enforced emigration to America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1331-5).
  11. ...

The Cuffe Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Cuffe Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 19 October 2015 at 15:28.

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