The Olfith name has descended through the generations from the ancient Anglo-Saxon
culture. Their name comes from having lived in Holford, a place-name found in Somerset
. The place-name is derived from the Old English elements hol,
which means hollow or valley, and ford,
a shallow place where a river may be crossed by wading. Fords were very important in medieval England
, as bridges were very expensive to both build and maintain. Any place where there was a ford across a river was bound to become a settlement of one sort or another, especially if it was a long way to the next ford up or down the river. In this particular case, the place-name Holford means "ford across the river in a valley."
Early Origins of the Olfith family
The surname Olfith was first found in West Somerset
in the hundred
of Whitley at Holford, a village and civil parish that dates back to the Domesday Book
of 1086 where it was listed as Holeforde. The place name literally meant "hollow ford, ford in a hollow," from the Old English words hol + ford. CITATION[CLOSE]
Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
The River Holford which runs through the village flows to the sea at Kilve.
Early History of the Olfith family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Olfith research.Another 183 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1717, 1541 and 1588 are included under the topic Early Olfith History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Olfith Spelling Variations
Only recently has spelling become standardized in the English language. As the English language evolved in the Middle Ages, the spelling of names changed also. The name Olfith has undergone many spelling variations
, including Holford, Holfords and others.
Early Notables of the Olfith family (pre 1700)
Notables of this surname at this time include: Lady Elizabeth Holford, who in 1717, gave £500 in support of a school in Stanton St. John in Oxfordshire
Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
Blessed Thomas... Another 30 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Olfith Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Olfith family to the New World and Oceana
To escape the unstable social climate in England
of this time, many families boarded ships for the New World with the hope of finding land, opportunity, and greater religious and political freedom. Although the voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, those families that arrived often found greater opportunities and freedoms than they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make significant contributions to the rapidly developing colonies in which they settled. Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name Olfith were among those contributors: Elizabeth Holford arrived in Annapolis, Maryland in 1729; Eleanor Holford settled in New England
in 1706; Thomas Holford settled in Maryland in 1725.