Show ContentsGriffis History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Griffis is from the rugged landscape of Wales. It is a Celtic name that was 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 most prominent of these was Griffith ap Cynan, the King of North Wales and the founder of the first Royal tribe of Wales; he was the eldest son of Rhodri Mawr, the first recorded King of Wales.

Gruffydd ab Llewelyn (d. 1063), King of the Welsh, was the son of Llewelyn, the son of Seisyll. His father, who, according to a late authority, had married Angharad, daughter of Maredudd, son of Owain, a descendant of Hywel Dda (Gwentian Brut, sub an. 994), had been a vigorous ruler over Gwynedd. 1

Gruffydd ab Rhydderch (d. 1055), king of the South Welsh, was the son of Rhydderch, son of lestin, who in 1023 had assumed the government of the south after the death of Llewelyn ab Seisyll, and was killed by the Irish in 1033. 1

Gruffydd ab Cynan (1055?-1137), King of Gwynedd or North Wales, was, through his father Cynan, son of Iago, a descendant of Rhodri Mawr and of the ancient royal line of Gwynedd. 1

Gruffydd ab Gwenwynwyn (d. 1286?), was Lord of Cyveiliog, Upper Powys, or, as it was called from his father, Powys Gwenwynwyn, was the son of Gwenwynwyn, the son of Owain Cyveiliog. 1

Early Origins of the Griffis family

The surname Griffis was first found in Chirk, where Gruffyd ap Madog Vnyon was listed in 1392. 2

Early History of the Griffis family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Griffis research. Another 248 words (18 lines of text) covering the years 1200, 1332, 1392, 1553, 1558, 1567, 1570, 1599, 1601, 1618, 1622, 1628, 1637, 1640, 1646, 1665, 1666, 1700 and 1890 are included under the topic Early Griffis History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Griffis Spelling Variations

The Welsh have an extremely large amount of spelling variations of their native surnames to their credit. It was up to the priest or the scribe taking the official records to determine how the spoken name was to be made literal. As time progressed, the old Brythonic names of Wales were recorded in English, which was especially problematic since the English language had extreme difficulty recording the highly inflected sounds of Cymraeg. Spelling variations were, however, also carried out according to an individual's design: a branch loyalty within the family, a religious adherence, or even patriotic affiliations could be indicated by spelling variations of one's name. The spelling variations of the name Griffis have included Griffith, Griffiths, Gryffudd, Gryffuths and others.

Early Notables of the Griffis family

Prominent amongst the family during the late Middle Ages was Mauirce Griffith, Griffyth or Griffyn (d. 1558), Bishop of Rochester, born in Wales, and educated in the south suburb of Oxford, among the Dominicans. 1 Edmund Griffith (1570-1637), was Bishop of Bangor, born at Cevnamlwch in Lleyn, the promontory of Carnarvonshire, in 1570. 1 John Griffith or Griffin (fl. 1553), was a Welsh monk of the order of Cistercians in the, monastery of Halesowen in Worcestershire. 1 George Griffith (1601-1666), was Welsh bishop of...
Another 83 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Griffis Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Griffis Ranking

In the United States, the name Griffis is the 3,722nd most popular surname with an estimated 7,461 people with that name. 3

Ireland Migration of the Griffis family to Ireland

Some of the Griffis family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 62 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Griffis 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 Griffis:

Griffis Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Margaret Griffis, who arrived in Maryland in 1672 4
Griffis Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Richard Griffis, who landed in Virginia in 1714 4
  • Thomas Griffis, who arrived in Virginia in 1725 4
Griffis Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • William Griffis, aged 34, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1803 4
  • War Griffis, aged 34, who arrived in America in 1803 4
  • W. Elliot Griffis, aged 51, who landed in America, in 1895
Griffis Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Howard Griffis, aged 20, who immigrated to the United States from Liverpool, in 1900
  • Mrs. Wm.Elliott Griffis, who immigrated to the United States, in 1906
  • Evelyn Griffis, aged 24, who immigrated to the United States, in 1909
  • Ceil Noel Griffis, aged 22, who landed in America, in 1910
  • Edna Griffis, aged 22, who settled in America, in 1912
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Griffis migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Griffis Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. William Griffis U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1784 5

Australia Griffis migration to Australia +

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

Griffis Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John Griffis who was convicted in Middlesex, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Dick" on 2nd October 1820, arriving in New South Wales, Australia 6

Contemporary Notables of the name Griffis (post 1700) +

  • Stanton Griffis (1887-1974), American Democratpolitician, U.S. Ambassador to Poland, 1947-48; Egypt, 1948-49; Argentina, 1949-50; Spain, 1951-52; Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Connecticut, 1952 7
  • Joseph K. Griffis, American politician, Candidate for New York State Assembly from Erie County 3rd District, 1900 7
  • James Griffis (1797-1859), American politician, Member of Indiana State House of Representatives, 1846-47 7
  • William Elliot Griffis (1843-1928), American Orientalist, Congregational minister, lecturer, and prolific author
  • John Elliot Griffis (1893-1968), American composer, son of William Elliot Griffis
  • Rhoda Griffis (b. 1965), American actress, known for her roles in The Hunger Games (2012), The Blind Side (2009) and Road Trip (2000)
  • Larry W. Griffis Jr, American artist, eponym of Griffis Sculpture Park, near Ashford Hollow and East Otto, New York
  • Arthur Thomas Griffis, Canadian co-founder of Watts, Griffis and McOuat Limited, one of Canada's longest running independent firms of geological and mining consultants founded in 1962, inducted into the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame
  • Giuseppe Patroni Griffis (1921-2005), Italian playwright, screenwriter, director and author
  • Silas Seth "Sox" Griffis (1883-1950), Canadian athlete of the early 20th century

  1. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  2. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  4. 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)
  5. 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
  6. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 8th July 2021). Retrieved from
  7. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, June 10) . Retrieved from on Facebook