Staff History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Staff arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Staff family lived in Staffordshire, at Stafford, from where their name is derived.

Early Origins of the Staff family

The surname Staff was first found in Staffordshire where they were descended from Roger de Toeni, founder of the Abbey of Conches, who died in the Civil Wars in Normandy in 1038.

His son, Ralph de Toeni, was hereditary Standard Bearer to King William the Conqueror, at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. His brother, Robert de Toeni, built a castle in Stafford and was the first to be surnamed Stafford.

The family held eighty manors in thirteen Midland counties as recorded in the Domesday Book compiled in 1086, and from the senior line of this noble family descended the Dukes of Buckingham.

The parish of Mugginton, Derbyshire played an important part of the family's heritage. "The manor, in Domesday Book Mogintune, was anciently held under Earl Ferrers, and in the reign of Edward I. was in moieties between the families of Chandos and Stafford. One moiety passed by a female heir to the immediate ancestor of Edward Sacheverell C. Pole, Esq.; and the Staffords' moiety has been successively in the families of Dethick, Rolleston, and Hallowes." [1]

Moving south to Cornwall, we found an interesting entry about the family. "The great manor or franchise of Callilond, or Kalliland, [in the parish of Southill, Cornwall] had formerly a very extensive jurisdiction, and which at present is far from being diminutive, originally belonged to the baronial family of Stafford. In the days of Richard III. this manor became divided, one third passing to the crown, and the other two thirds passing with an heiress of the Stafford family in marriage to Willoughby, Lord Broke." [2]

Early History of the Staff family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Staff research. Another 166 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1469, 1521, 1523, 1512, 1350, 1403, 1377, 1403, 1452, 1432, 1450, 1402, 1460, 1455, 1483, 1500, 1556, 1554, 1612, 1574, 1655, 1593, 1625, 1593, 1684, 1630 and are included under the topic Early Staff History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Staff Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names tend to be marked by an enormous number of 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 Stafford, Staford, Strafford and others.

Early Notables of the Staff family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Katherine Swynford, Duchess of Lancaster (Catherine Synford), (1350-1403), daughter of Sir Payne (de) Roet originally a Flemish herald from County of Hainaut, later knighted; Edmund Stafford, 5th Earl of Stafford and 6th Baron Audley, (1377-1403), son of Hugh de Stafford, 2nd Earl of Stafford and Philippa de Beauchamp, inherited the Earldom at the age of 17; John Stafford (d. 1452), English statesman, Lord Chancellor (1432-1450), and Archbishop of Canterbury; Humphrey Stafford (1402-1460), English...
Another 80 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Staff Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Staff family to Ireland

Some of the Staff family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 94 words (7 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Staff migration to the United States +

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 Staff name or one of its variants:

Staff Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Staff, who landed in America in 1850 [3]
  • Emma Staff, aged 32, who arrived in New York, NY in 1893 [3]
  • Hermann Staff, aged 4, who landed in New York, NY in 1893 [3]
  • Johann Staff, aged 33, who arrived in New York, NY in 1893 [3]

Australia Staff migration to Australia +

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

Staff Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • William Staff, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Asiatic" in 1849 [4]

New Zealand Staff migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Staff Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Walter Staff, (b. 1853), aged 21, English carpenter from Essex travelling from London aboard the ship "Tweed" arriving in Port Chalmers, Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 4th September 1874 [5]

Contemporary Notables of the name Staff (post 1700) +

  • Max Staff, American politician, Candidate for New York State Senate 34th District, 1952 [6]
  • Charles Staff, American politician, Candidate for Michigan state highway commissioner, 1933 [6]
  • Kathy Staff (1928-2008), English television actress
  • Leopold Staff (1878-1957), Polish poet, nominee the Nobel Prize in Literature

HMAS Sydney II
  • Mr. Robert Frank Staff (1909-1941), Australian Steward from Chelsea, Victoria, Australia, who sailed into battle aboard HMAS Sydney II and died in the sinking [7]


  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. ^ Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print
  3. ^ 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)
  4. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The ASIATIC 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849Asiatic.htm
  5. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  6. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, April 29) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  7. ^ HMAS Sydney II, Finding Sydney Foundation - Roll of Honour. (Retrieved 2014, April 24) . Retrieved from http://www.findingsydney.com/roll.asp


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