Show ContentsLyford History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

In ancient Anglo-Saxon England, the ancestors of the Lyford surname 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 Lyford family

The surname Lyford 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 Lyford family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Lyford research. Another 65 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1273, 1580, 1597, 1602, 1624 and 1634 are included under the topic Early Lyford History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Lyford Spelling Variations

It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, early Anglo-Saxon surnames like Lyford are characterized by many spelling variations. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages, even literate people changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Lyford include: Lyford, Liford and others.

Early Notables of the Lyford family

Notables of this surname at this time include:

  • The Reverend John Lyford (c. 1580-1634) the first ordained minister to arrive at the Plymouth Colony, America. After graduation for the University of Oxford in 1597 and in 1602, he was a pastor at Lev...
  • His secret purpose was discovered through an interception of letters being sent to England. Governor William Bradford seized some of these letters before they were sent, opened them, and confronted Ly...

United States Lyford migration to the United States +

Many English families tired of political and religious strife left Britain for the new colonies in North America. Although the trip itself offered no relief - conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and many travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute - these immigrants believed the opportunities that awaited them were worth the risks. Once in the colonies, many of the families did indeed prosper and, in turn, made significant contributions to the culture and economies of the growing colonies. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families has revealed a number of immigrants bearing the name Lyford or a variant listed above:

Lyford Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Lyford, who landed in New England in 1624 [7]
  • Anne, John, Martha, Mordecai, Obediah, Ruth, and Sarah Lyford, who all arrived at Plymouth Massachusetts in 1624
  • Mordecai Lyford, who arrived in Hingham, Massachusetts in 1642 [7]
  • Francis Lyford, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1667 [7]
Lyford Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Thomas Lyford, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1704-1705 [7]
  • William Lyford, who arrived in Georgia in 1738 [7]
  • William Lyford, who settled in Virginia in 1739
Lyford Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Charles Harold Lyford, who immigrated to the United States, in 1906
  • Calhoun Lyford, aged 13, who settled in America, in 1908
  • Anna Lyford, aged 28, who immigrated to the United States, in 1909
  • Chas. W. Lyford, aged 60, who settled in America, in 1910
  • Edward H. Lyford, aged 45, who immigrated to the United States, in 1911
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Lyford migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Lyford Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century
  • Elizabeth Lyford, aged 59, who immigrated to Toronto, Canada, in 1909

New Zealand Lyford migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Lyford Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • William Lyford, aged 19, a farmer, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Mary Ann" in 1842
  • Ann Lyford, aged 17, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Mary Ann" in 1842
  • Lawrence Lyford, aged 39, a farmer, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Mary Ann" in 1842
  • Margaret Lyford, aged 36, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Mary Ann" in 1842
  • Thomas Lyford, aged 13, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Mary Ann" in 1842
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Lyford (post 1700) +

  • Amy Lyford (b. 1963), American professor of art history at Occidental College in Los Angeles, California
  • Edwin Francis Lyford (1857-1929), American lawyer and politician, Member of the Massachusetts State Senate (1894)
  • Cabot Lyford (1925-2016), American sculptor best known for his depictions of animals and the female figure, including "My Mother the Wind" and "Life Force"
  • Ralph Lyford (1882-1927), American composer and conductor, managing director of the Cincinnati Opera
  • Richard Lyford, American documentary filmmaker, who won an Oscar in 1950
  • Victor G. Lyford, American politician, Member of University of Nebraska Board of Regents, 1906-19 [8]
  • Mary Lyford, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New York, 2004 [8]
  • Joseph P. Lyford, American Democratic Party politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Connecticut, 1952, 1954 [8]
  • Jesse S. Lyford (1819-1895), American Democratic Party politician, Mayor of Lewiston, Maine, 1878-79 [8]
  • James A. Lyford, American Democratic Party politician, Candidate for New Hampshire State House of Representatives from Kingston, 1938 [8]
  • ... (Another 1 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Grover Shoe factory
  • Mr. William Lyford, American employee of the Grover Shoe factory in Brockton, Massachusetts on 20th March 1905 when the boiler exploded and collapsed the wooden building; he survived [9]

  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.
  7. 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)
  8. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 3) . Retrieved from
  9. California Digital Newspaper from 21st March 1905 (retrieved on 5th August 2021.) Retrieved from on Facebook