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An excerpt from archives copyright 2000 - 2016

The distinguished surname McGuffin emerged among the industrious people of Flanders, which was an important trading partner and political ally of Britain during the Middle Ages. As a result of the frequent commercial intercourse between the Flemish and English nations, many Flemish migrants settled in Britain. In early times, people were known by only a single name. However, as the population grew and people traveled further afield, it became increasingly necessary to assume an additional name to differentiate between bearers of the same personal name. One of the most common classes of surname is the patronymic surname, which was usually derived from the first name of the person's father. Flemish surnames of this type are often characterized by the diminutive suffix -kin, which became very frequent in England during the 14th century. The surname McGuffin is derived from Giff, a pet form of the personal name Geoffrey. This pet form is supplemented by the diminutive suffix -on or -in.


The surname McGuffin was first found in Ayrshire where they held a family seat from very early times.

Flemish surnames are characterized by a large number of spelling variations. One reason for this is that medieval English lacked definite spelling rules. The spellings of surnames were also influenced by the official court languages, which were French and Latin. Names were rarely spelled consistently in medieval times. Scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to specific spelling rules, and people often had their names registered in several different forms throughout their lives. One of the greatest reasons for change is the linguistic uniqueness of the Flemish settlers in England, who spoke a language closely related to Dutch. The pronunciation and spelling of Flemish names were often altered to suit the tastes of English-speaking people. In many cases, the first, final, or middle syllables of surnames were eliminated. The name has been spelled Giffin, Giffen, Geffen, Giffan, Giffon, Geffan, Geffon, Giffines, Giffins, Giffans, Giffons, Whiffen, Whiffin, Wiffin, Wiffen, McGiffen and many more.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McGuffin research. Another 217 words (16 lines of text) covering the years 137 and 1379 are included under the topic Early McGuffin History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


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


Some of the McGuffin family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 101 words (7 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


The records on immigrants and ships' passengers show a number of people bearing the name McGuffin:

McGuffin Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Archibald McGuffin, who arrived in Washington County, Pennsylvania in 1853
  • James McGuffin, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1854

  • L. L. McGuffin, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Pennsylvania, 1860
  • Hugh McGuffin, American politician, Delegate to Texas Convention of 1832 from District of Lavaca, 1832

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    Other References

    1. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
    2. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
    3. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
    4. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
    5. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
    6. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
    7. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
    8. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
    9. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
    10. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
    11. ...

    The McGuffin Family Crest was acquired from the archives. The McGuffin 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 19 February 2016 at 14:45.

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