Goff History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms 

The name Goff is derived from the Welsh word "coch," which means "red." Goff was originally a nickname for a ruddy or red-complexioned person, which later became a hereditary surname.

Early Origins of the Goff family

The surname Goff was first found in Radnorshire (Welsh: Sir Faesyfed), a former historic county of mid- Wales, anciently part of the kingdom of Powys, where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.

Important Dates for the Goff family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Goff research. Another 110 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1605 and 1681 are included under the topic Early Goff History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Goff Spelling Variations

There are relatively few surnames native to Wales, but they have an inordinately large number of spelling variations. Early variations of Welsh surnames can be explained by the fact that very few people in the early Middle Ages were literate. Priests and the few other literate people were responsible for recording names in official documents. And because most people could not specific how to properly record their names it was up to the individual recorder of that time to determine how a spoken name should be recorded. Variations due to the imprecise or improper recording of a name continued later in history when names originally composed in the Brythonic Celtic, language of Wales, known by natives as Cymraeg, were transliterated into English. Welsh names that were documented in English often changed dramatically since the native language of Wales, which was highly inflected, did not copy well. Occasionally, however, spelling variations were carried out according to an individual's specific design: a branch loyalty within the family, a religious adherence, or even patriotic affiliations could be indicated by minor variations. The spelling variations of the name Goff have included Gough, Goff, Gof, Goffe and others.

Early Notables of the Goff family (pre 1700)

Another 38 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Goff Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Goff family to Ireland

Some of the Goff family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 58 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Goff migration to the United States

During the latter half of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, the people of Wales journeyed to North America to find a new life. They made major contributions to the arts, industry and commerce of both Canada and the United States, and added a rich cultural heritage to their newly adopted societies. A look at the immigration and passenger lists has shown a number of people bearing the name Goff:

Goff Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • William Goff, aged 30, who landed in St Christopher in 1635 [1]
Goff Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Anne Goff, who settled in Virginia in 1736
Goff Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • James Goff, who arrived in America in 1811 [1]
  • William Commins Goff, aged 29, who arrived in Ohio in 1812 [1]
  • Charles W Goff, who arrived in New York in 1815 [1]
  • John Goff, who settled in Savannah in 1822
  • Mrs. Goff, who arrived in Mobile, Ala in 1822 [1]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Goff migration to Canada

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Goff Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • D. Goff, aged 20, a surgeon, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the ship "Augusta" from Liverpool, England

Goff migration to Australia

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Goff Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • James Goff, English convict from Surrey, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on April 1st, 1822, settling in New South Wales, Australia [2]
  • Robert Goff, aged 43, a farm labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1857 aboard the ship "Sumner"

Goff migration to New Zealand

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Goff Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Owen Goff, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Berar" in 1865
  • John Goff, aged 27, a farm labourer, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Rodney" in 1875

Contemporary Notables of the name Goff (post 1700)

  • Robert Lamar Goff (b. 1965), American NFL football player who played from 1988 to 1996
  • Bruce Alonzo Goff (1904-1982), American architect
  • Nathan Goff Jr. (1843-1920), American politician, member of Congress from West Virginia
  • Stan Goff (b. 1951), American writer and activist
  • Robert Lionel Archibald Goff Kt, PC, FBA (1926-2016), Baron Goff of Chieveley, British jurist, Senior Lord of Appeal in Ordinary (1996-1998), Lord of Appeal in Ordinary (1986-1998)
  • Sir Park Goff KC (1871-1939), 1st Baronet, English barrister and politician, Member of Parliament for Cleveland (1918-1923) and (1924-1929) and for Chatham (1931-1935), Registrar of the Imperial Society of Knights Bachelor (1908-1911)
  • Philip Bruce Goff (b. 1953), New Zealand politician, 32nd Leader of the Opposition (2008-2011), 35th Minister of Defence (2005-2008)
  • John Goff Ballentine (1825-1915), American politician, Member of the United States House of Representatives (1883-1887)
  • Thomas Goff Lupton (1791-1873), English mezzotint engraver
  • Louise Goff Reece (1898-1970), American Republican politician, U.S. Representative from Tennessee 1st District, 1961-63; Member of Republican National Committee from Tennessee, 1967 [3]

Historic Events for the Goff family

Empress of Ireland
  • Miss Agnes Goff (1887-1914), Canadian Third Class Passenger from Toronto, Ontario, Canada who was traveling aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking [4]
HMS Hood
  • Mr. Jack Goff (b. 1923), English Boy 1st Class serving for the Royal Navy from Portsmouth, Hampshire, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [5]
HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. George Henry Goff, British Petty Officer, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [6]
USS Arizona
  • Mr. Wiley Coy Goff, American Seaman Second Class from Oklahoma, USA working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he died in the sinking [7]

You May Also Like


  1. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  2. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Asia 1 voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1822 with 190 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/asia/1822
  3. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 8) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  4. ^ Commemoration Empress of Ireland 2014. (Retrieved 2014, June 16) . Retrieved from http://www.empress2014.ca/seclangen/listepsc1.html
  5. ^ H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from http://www.hmshood.com/crew/memorial/roh_24may41.htm
  6. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html
  7. ^ Pearl Harbour: USS Arizona Casualties List Pearl Harbour December 7, 1941. (Retrieved 2018, July 31st). Retrieved from http://pearl-harbor.com/arizona/casualtylist.html
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