Joliff History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The history of the name Joliff begins with the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. This Norman name was soon thereafter given to a happy and lively person. The surname of Jolliffe was originally derived from the Old French word joli, of the same meaning. [1]

The name is derived from the "Old English, jolif, French joli, which Cotgrave defines as 'jollie, gay, trim, fine, gallant, neat, handsome, well-fashioned-also livelie, merrie, buxome, jocund.' " [2]

Early Origins of the Joliff family

The surname Joliff was first found in Staffordshire where they were an ancient family granted lands by William the Conqueror, and "allied to some of the chief nobles of the Kingdom." A northern branch enjoyed power and affluence in Europe before the Norman Conquest, and were originally known as Jolli. This spelling changed with the years to Jollye, to Jolliff, and finally to Jolliffe.

One of the first records of the family was John Jolif who was listed in the Hundredorum Rolls for Huntingdonshire in 1219. [3]

"In 1295 William Jolyf was bailsman for the M.P. for Thirsk, and 1305 Robert Jolyf for the M.P. for Arundel." [4]

The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 listed Robertus Jolf and Alicia Jolyff as holding lands there at that time. [5]

Early History of the Joliff family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Joliff research. Another 153 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1824, 1573, 1523, 1524, 1527, 1554, 1554, 1555, 1555, 1613, 1680, 1660, 1679, 1660, 1750, 1734, 1741, 1697, 1771, 1621, 1658, 1621, 1637, 1640, 1643 and 1643 are included under the topic Early Joliff History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Joliff Spelling Variations

Before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Sound was what guided spelling in the Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Joliff family name include Jolliffe, Jolli, Jolliff and others.

Early Notables of the Joliff family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Henry Joliffe (d. 1573), Dean of Bristol, educated at the university of Cambridge, where he graduated B.A. in 1523-1524, and M.A. in 1527. On 9 Sept. 1554 Joliffe was installed Dean of Bristol. He was present at the sitting of the commissioners on 24 Jan. 1554-1555 when sentence of excommunication and judgment ecclesiastical was pronounced against Hooper and Rogers; and he attended Archbishop Cranmer's second trial at Oxford in September 1555. On the accession of Elizabeth he was deprived of all his ecclesiastical preferments. He escaped to the continent, and settled at Louvain...
Another 142 words (10 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Joliff Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Joliff family

To escape the political and religious chaos of this era, thousands of English families began to migrate to the New World in search of land and freedom from religious and political persecution. The passage was expensive and the ships were dark, crowded, and unsafe; however, those who made the voyage safely were encountered opportunities that were not available to them in their homeland. Many of the families that reached the New World at this time went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of the United States and Canada. Research into various historical records has revealed some of first members of the Joliff family to immigrate North America: John Jolliffe settled in Boston Massachusetts in 1630; Mary Jolliffe settled in Georgia in 1741; John Joliffe settled in Barbados in 1685; John Joyliffe arrived in Boston Massachusetts in 1663 from the original Staffordshire branch..



The Joliff 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: Tant que je puis
Motto Translation: As much as I can.


  1. ^ Dixon, Bernard Homer, Surnames. London: John Wilson and son, 1857. Print
  2. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  3. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  4. ^ 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)
  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)


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