Jolleff History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Soon after the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, the name Jolleff was recognized on the island as a name for 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 Jolleff family

The surname Jolleff 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 Jolleff family

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

Jolleff Spelling Variations

Norman surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are largely due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England, as well as the official court languages of Latin and French, also had pronounced influences on the spelling of surnames. Since medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings. The name has been spelled Jolliffe, Jolli, Jolliff and others.

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


United States Jolleff migration to the United States +

Many English families emigrated to North American colonies in order to escape the political chaos in Britain. Unfortunately, many English families made the trip to the New World 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 stormy Atlantic. Despite these hardships, many of the families prospered and went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the United States and Canada. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the name Jolleff or a variant listed above:

Jolleff Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Jolleff, who arrived in Maryland in 1679 [6]


The Jolleff 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. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)


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