England after the Norman Conquest, when William the Conqueror gave his friends and relatives most of the land formerly owned by Anglo-Saxon aristocrats. They imported a vast number of Norman French personal names, which largely replaced traditional Old English personal names among the upper and middle classes.
Early Origins of the Pettifork family
Worcestershire where, they held a family seat after the Norman Conquest by William the Conqueror in 1066 A.D., where the name meant literally "Petite" and "Fere," meaning "the little wild beast," a soubriquet which has been corrupted to Pettifer, although a distant relationship has been claimed to Potiphar, the Faro's Captain of the Guard.
Early History of the Pettifork family
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Pettifork Spelling Variations
spelling variations. This is largely due to the fact that Old and Middle English lacked any spelling rules when Norman French was introduced in the 11th century. The languages of the English courts at that time were French and Latin. These various languages mixed quite freely in the evolving social milieu. The final element of this mix is that medieval scribes spelled words according to their sounds rather than any definite rules, so a name was often spelled in as many different ways as the number of documents it appeared in. The name was spelled Pettifer, Pettipher, Petipher, Petifer, Petiver and many more.
Early Notables of the Pettifork family (pre 1700)
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Migration of the Pettifork family to the New World and Oceana
Because of the political and religious discontent in England, families began to migrate abroad in enormous numbers. Faced with persecution and starvation at home, the open frontiers and generally less oppressive social environment of the New World seemed tantalizing indeed to many English people. The trip was difficult, and not all made it unscathed, but many of those who did get to Canada and the United States made important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers with Pettifork name or one of its variants: Elizabeth Pettiford settled in Maryland in 1720.
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