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

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

The history of the name Gifford begins with the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. This Norman name was soon thereafter given to 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.


Before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Sound was what guided spelling in the Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Gifford family name 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.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gifford 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 Gifford History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 141 words(10 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Gifford Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Gifford 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.


To escape the political and religious chaos of this era, thousands of English families began to migrate to the New World in search of land and freedom from religious and political persecution. The passage was expensive and the ships were dark, crowded, and unsafe; however, those who made the voyage safely were encountered opportunities that were not available to them in their homeland. Many of the families that reached the New World at this time went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of the United States and Canada. Research into various historical records has revealed some of first members of the Gifford family to immigrate North America:

Gifford Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Francis Gifford, who settled in Virginia in 1626
  • Edward Gifford, who landed in Virginia in 1635
  • Edward Gifford, aged 30, arrived in Virginia in 1635
  • Ursula Gifford, who landed in Maryland in 1638
  • William Gifford, who arrived in America in 1647

Gifford Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Jonathan Gifford, who arrived in Montserrat in 1710
  • Stephen Gifford, who landed in Virginia in 1712
  • Andrew Gifford, who arrived in Virginia in 1714
  • Samuel Gifford, who arrived in New England in 1717
  • Thomas Gifford, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1795

Gifford Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • William Tilfair Gifford, who arrived in New York in 1826
  • A Gifford, aged 45, arrived in Key West, Fla in 1838
  • George Gifford, who arrived in Washington County, Pennsylvania in 1847
  • John James Gifford, who landed in America in 1848
  • D B Gifford, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850

Gifford Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • Thomas Gifford, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1749

Gifford Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • John Gifford arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "John" in 1840
  • Lawrence Gifford, aged 30, a labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Charlotte Jane"
  • Joseph Gifford, aged 25, a labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Caucasian"
  • George Gifford, aged 31, a labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Ostrich"
  • Eliza Gifford, aged 23, a servant, arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Ostrich"

Gifford Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • James A. Gifford, aged 18, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Soukar" in 1874
  • Robert John Gifford, aged 14, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Soukar" in 1874
  • Jessie Gifford, aged 21, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Soukar" in 1874


  • Francis Newton Gifford (b. 1930), former American football player, well known American sports commentator
  • Robert Swain Gifford (1840-1905), American landscape painter
  • Frances Gifford (1920-1994), American actress
  • Gloria Gifford (1978-2006), American film and TV actress
  • Edric Frederick Gifford VC (1849-1911), 3rd Baron Gifford, English recipient of the Victoria Cross
  • Josh Gifford (b. 1941), English jockey
  • Norman Gifford (b. 1940), English cricketer
  • Algernon Charles Gifford (1861-1948), New Zealand astronomer, explorer, and teacher
  • Paul Gifford B.A., M.Litt. (b. 1944), Professor of African Christianity and Deputy Head of the Department of the Study of Religions in the School of Oriental and African Studies
  • Adam Gifford (1820-1887), Lord Gifford, Scottish advocate and judge; benefactor of the Gifford Lectures endowment



  • The Genealogy of the Gifford Family from Massachusetts to Maine by Christine R. Brown.
  • Seitter-Gifford Family by Audrey Seitter-Gifford.

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. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  2. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  3. Crispin, M. Jackson and Leonce Mary. Falaise Roll Recording Prominent Companions of William Duke of Normandy at the Conquest of England. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  4. Lennard, Reginald. Rural England 1086-1135 A Study of Social and Agrarian Conditions. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959. Print.
  5. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  6. Innes, Thomas and Learney. The Tartans of the Clans and Families of Scotland 1st Edition. Edinburgh: W & A. K. Johnston Limited, 1938. Print.
  7. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  8. 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.
  9. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  10. Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X).
  11. ...

The Gifford Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Gifford 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 18 January 2015 at 18:37.

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