Joliffe History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancient history of the name Joliffe began soon after 1066 when the Norman Conquest of England occurred. It was a name 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 Joliffe family

The surname Joliffe 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 Joliffe family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Joliffe 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 Joliffe History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Joliffe Spelling Variations

It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, Anglo-Norman surnames like Joliffe are characterized by many spelling variations. Scribes and monks in the Middle Ages spelled names they sounded, so it is common to find several variations that refer to a single person. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages such as Norman French and Latin, even literate people regularly changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Joliffe include Jolliffe, Jolli, Jolliff and others.

Early Notables of the Joliffe 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 Joliffe Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Joliffe migration to the United States +

Faced with the chaos present in England at that time, many English families looked towards the open frontiers of the New World with its opportunities to escape oppression and starvation. People migrated to North America, as well as Australia and Ireland in droves, paying exorbitant rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, but those who did see the shores of North America were welcomed with great opportunity. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America carried the name Joliffe, or a variant listed above:

Joliffe Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Joliffe, who settled in Barbados in 1685

Australia Joliffe migration to Australia +

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

Joliffe Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Elvira Joliffe, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Ramillies" in 1849 [6]
  • Mr. Robert Joliffe, (b. 1831), aged 21, Cornish agricultural labourer departing from Plymouth on 7th July 1852 aboard the ship "Sir Edward Parry" arriving in Geelong, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on 23rd October 1852 [7]
  • Mrs. Ann Joliffe, (b. 1831), aged 21, Cornish settler departing from Plymouth on 7th July 1852 aboard the ship "Sir Edward Parry" arriving in Geelong, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on 23rd October 1852 [7]


The Joliffe 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)
  6. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) RAMILIES 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849Ramillies.htm
  7. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retreived 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_australia_victoria.pdf


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