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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016


The Anglo-Saxon name Selfridge comes from the Old English given name Saulf. Selfridge is a patronymic surname, which belongs to the category of hereditary surnames. Many patronymic surnames were formed by adopting the given name of an ancestor of the bearer, while others came from popular religious names, and from the names of secular heroes. In this case, the surname arose out of the vernacular tradition, and was likely the name of an ancestor of the bearer. The given name Saulf was composed of the elements and wulf, which mean sea and wolf.

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Before the last few hundred years, the English language had no fast system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations are commonly found in early Anglo-Saxon surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Selfridge were recorded, including Self, Selfe and others.

First found in Derbyshire where they held a family seat from early times and their first records appeared on the early census rolls taken by the early Kings of Britain to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Selfridge research. Another 275 words (20 lines of text) covering the year 1086 is included under the topic Early Selfridge History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Selfridge Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Selfridge family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 107 words (8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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To escape oppression and starvation at that time, many English families left for the "open frontiers" of the New World with all its perceived opportunities. In droves people migrated to the many British colonies, those in North America in particular, paying high rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Although many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, those who did see the shores of North America perceived great opportunities before them. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Research into various historical records revealed some of first members of the Selfridge family emigrate to North America: Isaac Self settled in Pennsylvania in 1682; John Self settled in Pennsylvania in 1771; Samuel Self settled in Pennsylvania in 1771; William and Susan Selfe arrived in Barbados in 1654 but transferred to Virginia in the same year..

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  • John Lewis Selfridge (1927-2010), American mathematician who contributed to the fields of analytic number theory, computational number theory, and combinatorics
  • Thomas Etholen Selfridge (1882-1908), American first lieutenant in the U.S. Army, the first person to die in a crash of a powered airplane as a passenger on an aircraft piloted by Orville Wright, grandson of Rear Admiral Thomas Oliver Selfridge Sr
  • Thomas Oliver Selfridge Jr. (1836-1924), American officer in the United States Navy, co-eponym of the USS Selfridge (DD-357), a United States Navy destroyer
  • Rear Admiral Thomas Oliver Selfridge Sr. (1804-1902), American officer in the United States Navy, eponym of the USS Selfridge (DD-320), a United States Navy destroyer and co-eponym of the USS Selfridge (DD-357), a United States Navy destroyer
  • Oliver Gordon Selfridge (1926-2008), English-born, American pioneer of artificial intelligence, often been called the "Father of Machine Perception", grandfather of Harry Gordon Selfridge
  • Peter A. Selfridge, the current United States Chief of Protocol
  • Harry Gordon Selfridge Sr. (1858-1947), American-born British retail magnate, founder of the London-based department store Selfridges


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  1. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  2. 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).
  3. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
  4. 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. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  6. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  7. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  8. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  9. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  10. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  11. ...

The Selfridge Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Selfridge 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 13 August 2015 at 07:11.

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