Gillfard History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The history of the Gillfard family goes back to the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. It is derived from the family living in the village of Guildford, which was in the county of Surrey. The surname was originally derived from the Old English word guilford which denoted the "ford where the marigolds grew." 
"This place, of which there is no mention either in the British or the Roman annals, is supposed to be of Saxon origin, and to have derived its name from Guild, a fraternity, and Ford, the passage over a stream. It was held in royal demesne, and, by Speed, is said to have been the residence of some of the Saxon kings." 
Early Origins of the Gillfard family
The surname Gillfard was first found in Kent at Guildford, a county town that dates back to Saxon times c. 880 when it was first listed as Gyldeforda. About 978 or so, it was home to an early English Royal Mint. By the Domesday Book of 1086,  the town's name have evolved to Gildeford and was held by William the Conqueror. 
Guildford Castle is thought to have been built shortly after the 1066 invasion of England by William the Conqueror. As the castle is not listed in the Domesday Book, it is generally thought to have been built after 1086. Over the years, the castle has gone through many hands and is today held by the Guildford Corporation. It's essentially in ruins, but the gardens are a very popular tourist site. The keep now contains a visitor centre, open between April and September.
One of the earliest records of the family was that of Nicholas Guildford (fl. 1250), poet, who is the supposed author of an English poem, 'The Owl and the Nightingale.' It takes the "form of a contest between the two birds as to their relative merits of voice and singing. Master Nicholas de Guildford is chosen as umpire, and we then learn that his home is at Porteshom (now Portisham) in Dorset. 'The Owl and the Nightingale' is a poem of real merit, smoothly and melodiously written, and is an excellent specimen of the south-western dialect of the thirteenth century." 
Early History of the Gillfard family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gillfard research. Another 77 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1500, 1455, 1506, 1489 and 1532 are included under the topic Early Gillfard History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Gillfard Spelling Variations
Until quite recently, the English language has lacked a definite system of spelling rules. Consequently, Anglo-Saxon surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. Changes in Anglo-Saxon names were influenced by the evolution of the English language, as it incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other languages. Although Medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, so it is common to find one person referred to by several different spellings of his surname, even the most literate people varied the spelling of their own names. Variations of the name Gillfard include Guildford, Guildeford, Guilford, Gilford and others.
Early Notables of the Gillfard family (pre 1700)
Distinguished members of the family include Sir Richard Guildford, KG (c.1455-1506), an English courtier, held an important position in the court of Henry VII, including the office of Master...
Migration of the Gillfard family
Searching for a better life, many English families migrated to British colonies. Unfortunately, the majority of them traveled under extremely harsh conditions: overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the ocean. For those families that arrived safely, modest prosperity was attainable, and many went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the new colonies. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Gillfard or a variant listed above: Samuel Guilford settled in Philadelphia in 1851; Margaret Guildford settled in New England in 1769.
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: Animo et fide
Motto Translation: By courage and faith.