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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

Where did the English Giffard family come from? What is the English Giffard family crest and coat of arms? When did the Giffard family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Giffard family history?

The name Giffard arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Giffard family lived in Staffordshire with now extinct branches in Devon, Southampton and Buckinghamshire. [1] 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." [2]

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A multitude of spelling variations characterize Norman surnames. Many variations occurred because Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England also had a pronounced effect, as did the court languages of Latin and French. Therefore, one person was often referred to by several different spellings in a single lifetime. The various spellings include Gifford, Giffard, Geffard, Gyfford, Gifferd, Geffard, Gifferd, Gyffard, Gyfferd, Gyford, Giford, Givard, Givord, Giverd and many more.

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. [1] 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.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Giffard research. Another 261 words(19 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 Giffard History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 211 words(15 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Giffard Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Giffard family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 41 words(3 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Many English families left England, to avoid the chaos of their homeland and migrated to the many British colonies abroad. Although the conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and some travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute, once in the colonies, many of the families prospered and made valuable contributions to the cultures of what would become the United States and Canada. Research into the origins of individual families in North America has revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Giffard or a variant listed above:

Giffard Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • John Giffard, who arrived in Leeward Islands in 1703

Giffard Settlers in Canada in the 17th Century


  • Robert Giffard, who landed in Canada in 1622

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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: Malo mori quam foedari
Motto Translation: I would rather die than be disgraced.

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  1. ^ Shirley, Evelyn Philip, The Noble and Gentle Men of England; The Arms and Descents. Westminster: John Bower Nichols and Sons, 1866, Print.
  2. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.

Other References

  1. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  2. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  3. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  4. Virkus, Frederick A. Ed. Immigrant Ancestors A List of 2,500 Immigrants to America Before 1750. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1964. Print.
  5. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  6. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  7. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  8. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  9. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  10. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  11. ...

The Giffard Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Giffard 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 29 June 2015 at 12:51.

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