Show ContentsSifton History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Early Origins of the Sifton family

The surname Sifton was first found in Lancashire (now Merseyside) at Sefton, a village and civil parish which dates back to the Domesday Book of 1086 when it was first listed as Sextone [1] and literally meant "farmstead where rushes grow," from the Old Scandinavian word "sef" + the Old English word "tun." [2]

One of the first records of the family was Henry de Sefton who was listed in the Assize Rolls for Lancashire in 1285. [3]

Early History of the Sifton family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Sifton research. Another 104 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1285, 1593, 1595, 1602, 1686, 1756, 1761 and 1806 are included under the topic Early Sifton History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Sifton Spelling Variations

Multitudes of spelling variations are a hallmark of Anglo Norman names. Most of these names evolved in the 11th and 12th century, in the time after the Normans introduced their own Norman French language into a country where Old and Middle English had no spelling rules and the languages of the court were French and Latin. To make matters worse, medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, so names frequently appeared differently in the various documents in which they were recorded. The name was spelled Sefton, Sephton, Septon and others.

Early Notables of the Sifton family

Another 30 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Sifton Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Sifton family

Because of this political and religious unrest within English society, many people decided to immigrate to the colonies. Families left for Ireland, North America, and Australia in enormous numbers, traveling at high cost in extremely inhospitable conditions. The New World in particular was a desirable destination, but the long voyage caused many to arrive sick and starving. Those who made it, though, were welcomed by opportunities far greater than they had known at home in England. Many of these families went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Sifton or a variant listed above: John Septon, who arrived in Virginia in 1650; William Sephton, who was send to the Windward Islands in 1722; Judith Septon, who came to America in 1744.

Contemporary Notables of the name Sifton (post 1700) +

  • Charles Proctor Sifton (1935-2009), American jurist, Senior Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York (2000-2009)
  • Scott Sifton (b. 1974), American Democratic Party politician, Member of Missouri State Senate 1st District; Elected 2012 [4]
  • Sam Sifton (b. 1966), American journalist and Food Editor at The New York Times
  • Sir James David Sifton KCSI, KCIE, CSI, CIE (1878-1952), English politician, Governor of Bihar and Orissa from April 1932 to March 1936 and then Governor of Bihar from April 1936 to March 1937
  • John Wright Sifton (1833-1912), Canadian politician, Member of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba for St. Clements (1879-1881)
  • Arthur Lewis Watkins Sifton PC, PC (Can), KC ( (1858-1921), Canadian politician, the second Premier of Alberta from 1910 until 1917
  • Clifford Sifton (1861-1929), Canadian politician, Minister of the Interior of Canada, eponym of Mount Sifton in Glacier National Park, in the Hermit Range of the Selkirk Mountains in British Columbia, Canada
  • Sergeant Ellis Wellwood Sifton (1891-1917), Canadian recipient of the Victoria Cross during the First World War [5]

  1. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  2. Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  3. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  4. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 30) . Retrieved from
  5. The Canadian Virtual War Memorial (CVWM). (Retrieved 2010, September 27) Ellis Sifton. Retrieved from on Facebook