Show ContentsPafford History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

There are two distinct sources for the Pafford surname. Some instances of the surname come from the Old French word "pafard," meaning "shield," and as such, the name may have been a Norman nickname or occupational name either a soldier or an armorer. The name is also thought to have come from either of two minor places in Devon: Pafford in Moretonhampstead or Parford in Drewsteignton, both are derived from the Old English words "pæð" meaning "path," and "ford," meaning "a ford," that is, a low spot where a river may be crossed. The source Old English Bynames lists William Pafard c. 1100-1130. 1

Early Origins of the Pafford family

The surname Pafford was first found in Nottinghamshire where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor.

The Bayford branch of the family originated in either Somerset at Bayford, a hamlet, in the parish of StokeTrister, union of Wincanton, hundred of NortonFerris 2 or in the village and civil parish of Bayford in the East Hertfordshire district of Hertfordshire. In the latter, the family resided there since the reign of King Edward I. 3

Early History of the Pafford family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Pafford research. Another 185 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1096, 1156, 1347, 1455, 1487, 1510, 1600, 1615 and 1619 are included under the topic Early Pafford History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Pafford Spelling Variations

One relatively recent invention that did much to standardize English spelling was the printing press. However, before its invention even the most literate people recorded their names according to sound rather than spelling. The spelling variations under which the name Pafford has appeared include Bafford, Bafforde, Baford, Bayford, Bafore, Pafford and many more.

Early Notables of the Pafford family

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

Pafford Ranking

In the United States, the name Pafford is the 17,207th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. 4

United States Pafford migration to the United States +

At this time, the shores of the New World beckoned many English families that felt that the social climate in England was oppressive and lacked opportunity for change. Thousands left England at great expense in ships that were overcrowded and full of disease. A great portion of these settlers never survived the journey and even a greater number arrived sick, starving, and without a penny. The survivors, however, were often greeted with greater opportunity than they could have experienced back home. These English settlers made significant contributions to those colonies that would eventually become the United States and Canada. An examination of early immigration records and passenger ship lists revealed that people bearing the name Pafford arrived in North America very early:

Pafford Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Thomas Pafford, a bonded passenger who was sent to Barbados or Jamaica in 1688

Contemporary Notables of the name Pafford (post 1700) +

  • Robert C. Pafford (b. 1930), American politician, Member of Georgia State House of Representatives, 1963-70
  • R. J. Pafford, American politician, Mayor of Salina, Kansas, 1934-35
  • John M. Pafford, American politician, Tisch Independent Citizens Candidate for Presidential Elector for Michigan, 1992

Arrow Air Flight 1285
  • Mr. Theodore L Pafford (1962-1985), American Private 1st Class from Clarksville, Tennessee, USA who died in the Arrow Air Flight 1285 crash 5

  1. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  3. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  4. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  5. American War Memorials - Flight 1285. (Retrieved 2016, August 24) . Retrieved from on Facebook