Show ContentsRaffin History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Raffin arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The name Raffin comes from the Old English given name Raven. This name is a variation of the Old English word Hroefn, which indicated the large black bird we now call the raven, and was sometimes used as a nickname for someone with very dark hair.

"Among the spoil taken by the Saxons was the famous banner of the Raven, said to have been woven in one day by the sisters of Inguar and Ubba, and to have possessed the property of appearing before every battle flying like a living bird if the Danes were to be victorious; while in the contrary event it hung down motionless." 1

Early Origins of the Raffin family

The surname Raffin was first found in Leicestershire where the Domesday Book of 1086 "presents us with a tenant in chief called Raven-a true Scandinavian, doubtless. Rafn still exists in Denmark as a personal name, and is borne as a surname." 2

Continuing from the aforementioned Domesday Book reference, researchers found the History and Antiquities of the County Palatine of Durham referencing the name as a forename: Raven de Slinghawe, 1155. In the source, Hodgson's Northumberland, researchers found Gospatric filius Raven, 1177, William Raven, 1190 and Raven de Riding, 1233.

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 listed Henry Raven, Cambridgeshire. 3

Early History of the Raffin family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Raffin research. Another 85 words (6 lines of text) covering the year 1086 is included under the topic Early Raffin History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Raffin Spelling Variations

Endless spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled Raven, Ravens and others.

Early Notables of the Raffin family

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

Raffin Ranking

In France, the name Raffin is the 992nd most popular surname with an estimated 5,316 people with that name. 4

United States Raffin migration to the United States +

To escape the political and religious persecution within England at the time, many English families left for the various British colonies abroad. The voyage was extremely difficult, though, and the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving. But for those who made it, the trip was most often worth it. Many of the families who arrived went on to make valuable contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Raffin or a variant listed above:

Raffin Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Joseph Raffin, aged 40, who landed in Louisiana in 1719 5

Australia Raffin migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Raffin Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Henry Raffin, (b. 1806), aged 23, English shoe maker who was convicted in London, England for 14 years for theft, transported aboard the "Claudine" on 19th August 1829, arriving in New South Wales, Australia 6
  • James Raffin, aged 30, who arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Standard" 7

Contemporary Notables of the name Raffin (post 1700) +

  • Deborah Iona Raffin (1953-2012), American actress, model and audiobook publisher
  • Romel Raffin (b. 1954), three-time Canadian Olympian in men's basketball
  • Luigi Raffin (1936-2023), Italian professional football player and coach
  • Pierre René Ferdinand Raffin (1938-2024), French prelate of the Roman Catholic Church

  1. Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  2. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  3. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  5. 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)
  6. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 18th February 2021). Retrieved from
  7. South Australian Register Friday 14 October 1853. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Standard 1853. Retrieved on Facebook