The name Stiffen reached England
in the great wave of migration following the Norman Conquest
of 1066. It is based on the ancient personal name Stephen,
meaning crown, wreath, or garland.
Early Origins of the Stiffen family
The surname Stiffen was first found in Gloucestershire
where they were descended from FitzStephen, a Breton
knight who was conjecturally descended from Count Stephen of Brittany
and accompanied William the Conqueror into England
and fought at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Stephen FitzAirard was the captain of the "Mora," the ship which brought William the Conqueror over from Normandy
. His son was Thomas FitzStephen (died 1120) who was captain of the ill-fated White Ship (la Blanche-Nef), which sank off Barfleur, Normandy
, on 25 November 1120.
There was of course, King Stephen (c. 1097-1154,) King of England (1135-1154); he was the son of Stephen, Count of Blois and Chartres. Robert FitzStephen (d.1183) was a Welsh soldier of Norman descent and one of the leaders of the Norman invasion of Ireland.
William Fitzstephen (fitz Stephen) (died c. 1191) was a cleric and administrator in the service of Thomas Becket.
Early History of the Stiffen family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Stiffen research.Another 208 words (15 lines of text) covering the years 1086, 1805, 1589, 1660, 1628, 1653, 1603, 1679, 1645, 1660, 1683, 1656, 1659, 1647, 1718, 1629, 1669, 1667, 1669 and are included under the topic Early Stiffen History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Stiffen Spelling Variations
The English language only became standardized in the last few centuries. For that reason, spelling variations
are common among many Anglo-Norman names. The shape of the English language was frequently changed with the introduction of elements of Norman French, Latin, and other European languages; even the spelling of literate people's names were subsequently modified. Stiffen has been recorded under many different variations, including Stephens, Stevens, Stephen, Steven, Stiven and many more.
Early Notables of the Stiffen family (pre 1700)
Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Sir John Stephens of Finglas; Nathaniel Stephens (1589-1660), an English politician who sat in the House of Commons between 1628 and 1653, supporter of the Parliamentarian cause in the English Civil War; John Stephens (1603-1679), an English politician who sat in the House... Another 55 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Stiffen Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Stiffen family to Ireland
Some of the Stiffen family moved to Ireland
, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.Another 131 words (9 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Stiffen family to the New World and Oceana
To escape the uncertainty of the political and religious uncertainty found in England
, many English families boarded ships at great expense to sail for the colonies held by Britain. The passages were expensive, though, and the boats were unsafe, overcrowded, and ridden with disease. Those who were hardy and lucky enough to make the passage intact were rewarded with land, opportunity, and social environment less prone to religious and political persecution. Many of these families went on to be important contributors to the young nations of Canada and the United States where they settled. Stiffens were some of the first of the immigrants to arrive in North America: John Stephens who settled in Virginia in 1635; Benjamin Stephens settled in Barbados in 1660; Alice Stephens settled in Barbados in 1651; John Stevens settled in Jamaica in 1684.