Griffin History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Griffin surname is derived from the Welsh personal names Griffin, Gruffin, or Griffith. These were pet-forms of the Middle Welsh name Gruffudd, which was borne by many Welsh princes. The name came to Ireland in the 12th century with the Anglo- Norman invasion of Strongbow. There was also a native Irish line whose name originally appeared in Gaelic as O Gríobhtha, which is derived from the word "gríobhtha," which means "griffin-like." It is thought that most of the bearers of the Griffith variant of the name are of Welsh ancestry.

Early Origins of the Griffin family

The surname Griffin was first found in the province of Munster, where they had been granted lands by Strongbow after the Anglo Norman invasion into Ireland in 1172.

Early History of the Griffin family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Griffin research. Another 81 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1st , 10, and 1710 are included under the topic Early Griffin History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Griffin Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Griffin, O'Griffin, Griffen, O'Griffen, Griffith, Griffey, Griffy, O'Griffy and many more.

Early Notables of the Griffin family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Griffin Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Griffin World Ranking

In the United States, the name Griffin is the 98th most popular surname with an estimated 208,908 people with that name. [1] However, in Canada, the name Griffin is ranked the 578th most popular surname with an estimated 8,607 people with that name. [2] And in Newfoundland, Canada, the name Griffin is the 266th popular surname with an estimated 166 people with that name. [3] Australia ranks Griffin as 264th with 12,877 people. [4] New Zealand ranks Griffin as 223rd with 2,572 people. [5] The United Kingdom ranks Griffin as 231st with 25,151 people. [6]


United States Griffin migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Griffin Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Reginald Griffin, who landed in Virginia in 1621 [7]
  • Rise Griffin, aged 24, who arrived in Virginia in 1621 [7]
  • Richard Griffin, who settled in Virginia in 1623
  • Elias Griffin, who arrived in Virginia in 1634 [7]
  • William Griffin, who arrived in Virginia in 1635 [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Griffin Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Owen Griffin, who landed in Virginia in 1701 [7]
  • Humphrey Griffin, who landed in Virginia in 1712 [7]
  • Henry Griffin, who arrived in Virginia in 1713 [7]
  • Ambrose Griffin, who arrived in Virginia in 1714 [7]
  • Andrew Griffin, who landed in Virginia in 1715 [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Griffin Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Lady Christina Griffin, who arrived in Virginia in 1807 [7]
  • Daw Griffin, who arrived in New York, NY in 1811 [7]
  • Benjamin Pitt Griffin, aged 27, who arrived in New York in 1812 [7]
  • Jeremiah Griffin, aged 35, who landed in New York in 1812 [7]
  • Geo Griffin, aged 19, who landed in Key West, Fla in 1837 [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Griffin migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Griffin Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • John Griffin, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1749-1752
  • William Griffin, who arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1749-1752
  • John Griffin, who arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1752
  • William Griffin, who arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1752
  • Mr. John Griffin U.E. who arrived at Port Roseway [Shelburne], Nova Scotia on October 26, 1783 was passenger number 154 aboard the ship "HMS Clinton", picked up on September 28, 1783 at Staten Island, New York [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Griffin Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • John Griffin, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1815
  • Mary Leasy Griffin, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1822
  • Catherine Griffin, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1830
  • Horatio N Griffin, who arrived in Canada in 1830
  • Ellen Griffin, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1833
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Griffin migration to Australia +

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

Griffin Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Oliver Griffin, Irish convict who was convicted in Meath, Ireland for 7 years, transported aboard the "Atlas" on 29th November 1801, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [9]
  • Miss Teresa Griffin, (b. 1795), aged 18, Irish convict who was convicted in Dublin, Ireland for 7 years, transported aboard the "Catherine" on 8th December 1813, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, she died in 1816 [10]
  • Mr. William Griffin, (b. 1791), aged 31, Irish ploughman who was convicted in Cork, Ireland for life for rioting, transported aboard the "Brampton" on 8th November 1822, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [11]
  • Henry Griffin, English convict from Berkshire, who was transported aboard the "Albion" on May 17, 1823, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [12]
  • Mrs. Mary Griffin, (b. 1794), aged 32, Irish country servant who was convicted in Limerick, Ireland for 7 years for stealing, transported aboard the "Brothers" on 3rd October 1826, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, listed as having 6 children [13]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Griffin 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:

Griffin Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • John Griffin, who landed in Nelson, New Zealand in 1840
  • John Griffin, aged 19, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Sir Charles Forbes" in 1842
  • Mr. CharlesGriffin, British settler travelling from Gravesend, UK aboard the ship "Duke of Portland" arriving in New Plymouth, North Island, New Zealand in 1855 [14]
  • Mrs. Griffin, British settler travelling from Gravesend, UK aboard the ship "Duke of Portland" arriving in New Plymouth, North Island, New Zealand in 1855 [14]
  • Oliver Griffin, aged 25, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Shamrock" in 1856
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

West Indies Griffin migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [15]
Griffin Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • George Griffin who settled in St. Christopher (Saint Kitts) in 1633 and later moved to Virginia
  • Mr. George Griffin, Cornish settler from Marazion, Cornwall, (b. 1616), aged 18, British settler travelling from Plymouth, England aboard the ship "Margarett" arriving in St Christopher (Saint Kitts) on 1st March 1634 [16]
  • Miss Ann Griffin, (b. 1600), aged 35, British settler travelling aboard the ship "The Dorset" arriving in Barbados in September 1635 [17]
  • Mr. Thomas Griffin, (b. 1603), aged 32, British settler travelling aboard the ship "The Dorset" arriving in Barbados in September 1635 [17]
  • Matie Griffin, aged 17, who arrived in Barbados in 1635 [7]

Contemporary Notables of the name Griffin (post 1700) +

  • Gerald D. "Gerry" Griffin (b. 1934), American former NASA flight director and director of Johnson Space Center and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • Bob F. Griffin (1935-2021), American politician who served in the Missouri House of Representatives from 1971 to 1996, Speaker of the Missouri House of Representatives from 1981 to 1996
  • James Patrick Griffin (1933-2019), American-born philosopher, White's Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Oxford from 1996 to 2000
  • Miriam Tamara Griffin (1935-2018), née Dressler, an American classical scholar and tutor of Ancient History at Somerville College, Oxford (1967-2002)
  • LaShell Renee Griffin (b. 1968), American gospel musician
  • Tom Griffin (1946-2018), American playwright, best known for his play The Boys Next Door (1988)
  • Kenneth C. Griffin (b. 1968), American hedge fund manager, billionaire and philanthropist
  • Kenneth W. "Ken" Griffin (1909-1956), American organist from Columbia, Missouri, known for his hit "You Can't Be True, Dear" (1948) which sold over 3.5 million copies
  • Erik Griffin, American stand-up comedian, writer and actor
  • Don Griffin (1955-2015), American singer and guitarist, founding member of The Miracles
  • ... (Another 31 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Arrow Air Flight 1285
  • Mr. John Griffin (b. 1940), American Flight Captain from Miami, USA who died in the crash [18]
Empress of Ireland
  • Mrs. Violetta Griffin (1887-1914), née Boaz Canadian Third Class Passenger from Brantford, Ontario, Canada who was traveling aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking [19]
  • Mrs. Grace Griffin (1886-1914), née Withnell Canadian Second Class Passenger from Cloverdale, British Columbia, Canada who was traveling aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking [19]
  • Miss Winniefred Griffin (1913-1914), Canadian Second Class Passenger from Cloverdale, British Columbia, Canada who was traveling aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking [19]
HMS Hood
  • Mr. Charles A Griffin (b. 1921), English Marine serving for the Royal Marine from Alresford, Hampshire, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [20]
HMS Royal Oak
  • Harry Griffin (d. 1939), British Boy 1st Class with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he died in the sinking [21]
SS Southern Cross
  • Mr. John Griffin (1898-1914), Newfoundlander from Harbour Grace who was aboard the "SS Southern Cross" when it is suspected she sank between the 31st March 1914 and early April during the storm with a heavy load of pelts; no survivors were ever found
USS Arizona
  • Mr. Lawrence J. Griffin, American Private First Class from Louisiana, 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 [22]
  • Mr. Reese Olin Griffin, American Electrician's Mate Third Class from Texas, 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 [22]


The Griffin Motto +

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: Ne vile Velis
Motto Translation: Wishing nothing base.


Suggested Readings for the name Griffin +

  • Gershom & Phoebe Griffin, Their Ancestors and Descendants by Elaine Washburn Olney.
  • A Griffin and Related Families History by Paul E. Griffin.

  1. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  2. ^ https://forebears.io/surnames/
  3. ^ The order of Common Surnames in 1955 in Newfoundland retrieved on 20th October 2021 (retrieved from Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland by E.R. Seary corrected edition ISBN 0-7735-1782-0)
  4. ^ https://forebears.io/australia/surnames
  5. ^ https://forebears.io/new-zealand/surnames
  6. ^ https://www.surnamemap.eu/unitedkingdom/surnames_ranking.php?p=10
  7. ^ 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)
  8. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  9. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 14th July 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/atlas
  10. ^ Convict Records of Australia (Retreived 2nd January 2021, retreived from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/catherine
  11. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 29th October 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/Brampton
  12. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Albion voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1823 with 200 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/albion/1823
  13. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 3rd November 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/brothers
  14. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  15. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  16. ^ Cornish in the Caribbean (retrieved on 23rd September 2021). Retrieved from https://books.google.ca/books?id=gnSFDwAAQBAJ&pg=PA265&lpg=PA265&dq=wallen+lizard+cornwall&source=bl&ots=ARTnm6uRLv&sig=ACfU3U3ewicUaBkTuwC_Gpr0ic-
  17. ^ Pilgrim Ship Lists Early 1600's retrieved 29th September 2021. (Retrieved from https://www.packrat-pro.com/ships/shiplist.htm)
  18. ^ American War Memorials - Flight 1285. (Retrieved 2016, August 24) . Retrieved from http://www.uswarmemorials.org/html/monument_details.php?SiteID=317&MemID=550
  19. ^ Commemoration Empress of Ireland 2014. (Retrieved 2014, June 16) . Retrieved from http://www.empress2014.ca/seclangen/listepsc1.html
  20. ^ 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
  21. ^ Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from https://uboat.net/allies/merchants/crews/ship68.html
  22. ^ 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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