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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 ancient Normans that arrived in England following the Conquest of 1066 are the initial ancestors from which the many generations of the Giffard family have grown. The name Giffard was given to a member of the family who was a chubby cheeked or round faced person. Looking back even further, we found the name was originally derived from the Old French word giffard, which is a pejorative form of giffel, which means jaw.

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Before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, Norman French and other languages became incorporated into English throughout the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the literate. The variations of the surname Giffard include Gifford, Giffard, Geffard, Gyfford, Gifferd, Geffard, Gifferd, Gyffard, Gyfferd, Gyford, Giford, Givard, Givord, Giverd and many more.

First found in Lancashire, where the family had been granted lands by King William for their assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D.


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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, 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 141 words(10 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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In England at this time, the uncertainty of the political and religious environment of the time caused many families to board ships for distant British colonies in the hopes of finding land and opportunity, and escaping persecution. The voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, though, and many arrived in North America sick, starved, and destitute. Those who did make it, however, were greeted with greater opportunities and freedoms that they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Early immigration records have shown some of the first Giffards to arrive on North American shores:

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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  2. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  3. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  4. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
  5. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  6. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1968. Print.
  7. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  8. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  9. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
  10. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  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 15 January 2014 at 13:07.

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