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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

Where did the English Joliffe family come from? What is the English Joliffe family crest and coat of arms? When did the Joliffe family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Joliffe family history?

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. A broad and miscellaneous class of surnames, nickname surnames referred to a characteristic of the first person who used the name. They can describe the bearer's favored style of clothing, appearance, habits, or character.


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.

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.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Joliffe research. Another 305 words (22 lines of text) covering the years 1824, 1613, 1680, 1660, 1679, 1660, 1750, 1734, 1741, 1697 and 1771 are included under the topic Early Joliffe History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 93 words (7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Joliffe Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


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 settled in Barbados in 1685

Joliffe Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Elvira Joliffe arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Ramillies" in 1849


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.


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  1. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
  2. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  3. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  4. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  5. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
  6. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  7. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
  8. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  9. Burke, Sir Bernard. Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry: Including American Families with British Ancestry. (2 Volumes). London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  10. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  11. ...

The Joliffe Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Joliffe 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 5 June 2014 at 10:45.

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