Heffer History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Early Origins of the Heffer family

The surname Heffer was first found in Somerset, where the name first appears in written records in the 14th century. The name Heffer, like many surnames, is an occupational surname, coming from whatever job the first bearer did for a living. In this case, the name is metonymic, coming from an object associated with the job, rather than the name of the job itself; the first bearer of the name was a farmer who herded cattle. A young cow is called a heifer, and it is from this that the name arises.

Early History of the Heffer family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Heffer research. Another 51 words (4 lines of text) covering the year 1327 is included under the topic Early Heffer History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Heffer Spelling Variations

A multitude of spelling variations characterize Norman surnames. Many variations occurred because Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England also had a pronounced effect, as did the court languages of Latin and French. Therefore, one person was often referred to by several different spellings in a single lifetime. The various spellings include Heffer, Heiffer, Heffner, Hayfour, Heifers and many more.

Early Notables of the Heffer family (pre 1700)

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


United States Heffer migration to the United States +

Many English families left England, to avoid the chaos of their homeland and migrated to the many British colonies abroad. Although the conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and some travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute, once in the colonies, many of the families prospered and made valuable contributions to the cultures of what would become the United States and Canada. Research into the origins of individual families in North America has revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Heffer or a variant listed above:

Heffer Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Feridrick Heffer, who settled in Pennsylvania in 1732

Australia Heffer migration to Australia +

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

Heffer Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Robert Heffer, (b. 1808), aged 40, English convict who was convicted in London, England for 10 years for breaking into a warehouse, transported aboard the "Bangalore" on 1st January 1850, arriving in Moreton Bay, Queensland, Australia [1]

Contemporary Notables of the name Heffer (post 1700) +

  • Jerome Heffer, American Democratic Party politician, Candidate for Mayor of Mamaroneck, New York, 1955 [2]
  • Richard Heffer (b. 1946), English television actor
  • Simon James Heffer (b. 1960), English journalist and writer
  • Eric Samuel Heffer (1922-1991), English Labour politician


The Heffer 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: Dieu et mon droit
Motto Translation: God, and my right.


  1. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 11th September 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/australasia
  2. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 12) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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