An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016
Greeff is a name of Anglo-Saxon origin and came from the baptismal name Reeve where as a surname it refers to son of Reeve. In Old English, patronyms were formed by adding a variety of suffixes to personal names, which changed over time and from place to place. For example, after the Norman Conquest, sunu and sune, which meant son, were the most common patronymic suffixes. In the 12th and 13th centuries, the most common patronymic names included the word filius, which meant son. By the 14th century, the suffix son had replaced these earlier versions. Surnames that were formed with filius or son were more common in the north of England and it was here that the number of individuals without surnames was greatest at this time. The surname Greeff also referred to manager or overseer as an occupational surname.
The surname Greeff was first found in Derbyshire where they held a family seat from very early times.
Spelling variations in names were a common occurrence before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago. In the Middle Ages, even the literate spelled their names differently as the English language incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other European languages. Many variations of the name Greeff have been found, including Grieves, Grieve, Greve, Greves, Greeves, Greaves, Greave, Griveson, Greaveson, Greavson and many more.
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Greeff research. Another 217 words (16 lines of text) covering the years 1200, 1379, 1784, 1600, 1612, 1676, 1602, 1652, 1st , 1608, 1680, 1605 and 1673 are included under the topic Early Greeff History in all our PDF Extended History products.
Another 121 words (9 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Greeff Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.
Some of the Greeff family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 31 words (2 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.
Families began migrating abroad in enormous numbers because of the political and religious discontent in England. Often faced with persecution and starvation in England, the possibilities of the New World attracted many English people. Although the ocean trips took many lives, those who did get to North America were instrumental in building the necessary groundwork for what would become for new powerful nations. Among the first immigrants of the name Greeff, or a variant listed above to cross the Atlantic and come to North America were : Captain Thomas Graves, who traveled on the first ship to Jamestown, Virginia in 1607; Jane Grieves purchased land in Delaware in 1682; Admiral Greaves settled in Savannah, Georgia in 1823.
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: Spes mea in Deo
Motto Translation: My hope is in God.
The Greeff Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Greeff 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 16 April 2013 at 10:58.