Greif History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The history of the name Greif begins with the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. It is derived 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 Greif also referred to manager or overseer as an occupational surname.
Alternatively, the name could have originally been a Norman name descending from Walter de Grava (De la Grave) which was found in Normandy before the Conquest and still there as late as 1198. 
Early Origins of the Greif family
The surname Greif was first found in Gloucestershire where Osbert de Grava or De la Grave was found in 1203. From this first entry, the Graveses of Mickleton, Gloucester, ancestors of the gallant admiral Lord Graves, and the Baronets Graves-Saule descend. 
The source "Testa de Nevill, sive Liber Feodorum" lists Geoffrey de la Grave, Gloucestershire, (temp. Henry III-Edward I) and the "Placita de Quo Warranto" lists Sibilla de la Grave, Gloucestershire, 20 Edward I (during the 20th year of Edward I's reign.) 
The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 included the following early listings of the family: Edith de la Grava, Oxfordshire; Henry de la Grave, Oxfordshire; Hugh de la Grave, Somerset; and John de la Grave, Wiltshire. 
"Greaves, which is a characteristic name of the midland counties, has long been a Worcestershire name. The old family of Greves held some position in the county." 
The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 listed the following as holding lands there at that time: Johannes Grave; Adam Grayf; Johanna Grayf; and Robertus Grayff. 
Early History of the Greif family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Greif research. Another 138 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1200, 1669, 1784, 1600, 1600, 1607, 1604, 1612, 1676, 1602, 1652, 1608, 1680, 1605, 1673, 1677, 1729, 1677, 1715 and 1804 are included under the topic Early Greif History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Greif Spelling Variations
The English language only became standardized in the last few centuries; therefore, spelling variations are common among early Anglo-Saxon names. As the form of the English language changed, even the spelling of literate people's names evolved. Greif has been recorded under many different variations, including Grieves, Grieve, Greve, Greves, Greeves, Greaves, Greave, Griveson, Greaveson, Greavson and many more.
Early Notables of the Greif family (pre 1700)
Notables of the family at this time include Thomas Greaves (fl. 1604), English musical composer and lutenist to Sir Henry Pierrepont, belonging probably to the Derbyshire family of Greaves; Thomas Greaves (1612-1676), an English Orientalist, a contributor to the London Polyglot; John Greaves (1602-1652), an English mathematician, astronomer and antiquary, eldest son. of the Rev. John Greaves, rector of Colemore, near Alresford in Hampshire; Sir Edward Greaves, 1st Baronet (1608-1680), an English physician...
Another 72 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Greif Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Greif family to Ireland
Some of the Greif 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 and printed products wherever possible.
| Greif migration to the United States ||+|
For many English families, the political and religious disarray that shrouded England made the far away New World an attractive prospect. On cramped disease-ridden ships, thousands migrated to those British colonies that would eventually become Canada and the United States. Those hardy settlers that survived the journey often went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Greif or a variant listed above:
Greif Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
- Philips Jacob Greif, who landed in New York in 1709 
|Contemporary Notables of the name Greif (post 1700) ||+|
- Eric Greif (b. 1962), American lawyer and entertainment personality
- Avner Greif (b. 1955), American economics professor at Stanford University
- Stephen Greif (b. 1949), English actor
- Jean-Jacques Greif (b. 1944), French journalist and writer
- Olivier Greif (1950-2000), French composer
- Gideon Greif (b. 1951), Israeli historian
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 Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
- Testa de Nevill or "Liber Feodorum" or "Book of Fees," thought to have been written by Ralph de Nevill, for King John (1199–1216)
- Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
- Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
- 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)