Lifithay History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The present generation of the Lifithay family is only the most recent to bear a name that dates back to the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. Their name comes from having lived in the chapelry of Lyford found in the parish of West Hannay in the county of Berkshire. [1]

The place name dates back to Saxon times when in 944, it was first known as Linforda and literally meant "ford where flax grows," from the Old English "lin" + "ford." [2] By the time of the Domesday Book in 1086, it was known as Linford. [3] At that time, Lyford was in Oxfordshire.

One noted source has this interesting passage about the origin of the name: "This name greatly puzzled me, till I bethought myself of looking it out in Holinshed in connection with Osevile. There I found the latter succeeding Olifant—the modernized form of Olifard: and I think we may therefore reasonably conclude that the first letter has been accidentally left out, and that the name should stand 'Olifard.' " [4]

Early Origins of the Lifithay family

The surname Lifithay was first found in Berkshire, at Lyford. It should be noted that as this place name was originally in Oxfordshire, that it should come as no surprise that Oxfordshire is where the first record of the family, specifically John de Lyford who was found in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273. [5]

Later, "Thomas Lyford was a Berkshire gentleman living in the reign of Henry VI." [6]

Early History of the Lifithay family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Lifithay research. Another 65 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 127 and 1273 are included under the topic Early Lifithay History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Lifithay Spelling Variations

Until the dictionary, an invention of only the last few hundred years, the English language lacked any comprehensive system of spelling rules. Consequently, spelling variations in names are frequently found in early Anglo-Saxon and later Anglo-Norman documents. One person's name was often spelled several different ways over a lifetime. The recorded variations of Lifithay include Lyford, Liford and others.

Early Notables of the Lifithay family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Lifithay Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Lifithay family

Thousands of English families boarded ships sailing to the New World in the hope of escaping the unrest found in England at this time. Although the search for opportunity and freedom from persecution abroad took the lives of many because of the cramped conditions and unsanitary nature of the vessels, the opportunity perceived in the growing colonies of North America beckoned. Many of the settlers who survived the journey went on to make important contributions to the transplanted cultures of their adopted countries. The Lifithay were among these contributors, for they have been located in early North American records: Anne, John, Martha, Mordecai, Obediah, Ruth, and Sarah Lyford, who all arrived at Plymouth Massachusetts in 1624; as well as William Lyford, who settled in Virginia in 1739..



  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  3. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  4. ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 3 of 3
  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. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.


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