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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016


The generations and branches of the Iliff family share a name that has its roots in the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. The name Iliff comes from the baptismal name Ailof.

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The surname Iliff was first found in Northumberland, where they held a family seat from ancient times.

Until quite recently, the English language has lacked a definite system of spelling rules. Consequently, Anglo-Saxon surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. Changes in Anglo-Saxon names were influenced by the evolution of the English language, as it incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other languages. Although Medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, so it is common to find one person referred to by several different spellings of his surname, even the most literate people varied the spelling of their own names. Variations of the name Iliff include Iliff, Iliffe, Illiffe, Illif, Ayliff, Ayliffe, Ailiffe, Ailiff, Ellif, Elaf and many more.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Iliff research. Another 197 words (14 lines of text) covering the years 1166, 1176, 1198, 1240, 1260, 1500, and 1640 are included under the topic Early Iliff History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Iliff Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Iliff family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 55 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Searching for a better life, many English families migrated to British colonies. Unfortunately, the majority of them traveled under extremely harsh conditions: overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the ocean. For those families that arrived safely, modest prosperity was attainable, and many went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the new colonies. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Iliff or a variant listed above:

Iliff Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Benjamin Iliff to Philadelphia in 1878

Iliff Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • Henry Iliff, aged 26, arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Florentia"
  • H. Iliff arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Florentia" in 1849
  • Thomas Iliff, aged 27, arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Marion" in 1849

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  • John Wesley Iliff Sr. (1831-1878), American cattle rancher, eponym of Iliff, Colorado, eponym and benefactor of the Iliff School of Theology, Denver, Colorado
  • Geoffrey Durnford Iliff (1867-1946), English Anglican missionary bishop, Archdeacon of Hereford (1941)


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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: Vive ut vivas
Motto Translation: Live that you may live for ever

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  1. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  2. Shirley, Evelyn Philip. Noble and Gentle Men of England Or Notes Touching The Arms and Descendants of the Ancient Knightley and Gentle Houses of England Arranged in their Respective Counties 3rd Edition. Westminster: John Bowyer Nichols and Sons, 1866. Print.
  3. Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
  4. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  5. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  6. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  7. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  8. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  9. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  10. Sanders, Joanne McRee Edition. English Settlers in Barbados 1637-1800. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  11. ...

The Iliff Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Iliff 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 23 February 2014 at 19:55.

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