Taaffe History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

While this surname is generally regarded as Irish, we must look further back to properly understand its origin. Taaffe is actually derived from the Welsh name Taaffe, which is a form of the personal name David and is related to the modern pet name Taffy. The Irish Gaelic form of the surname Taaffe is Táth, which is pronounced, and indeed, often spelled, Taa.

Early Origins of the Taaffe family

The surname Taaffe was first found in County Louth (Irish: Lú) the smallest county in Ireland, located on the East coast, in the Province of Leinster where the family rapidly rose to positions of great importance shortly after their settlement during the Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland. "Lord Taafe's ancestors were a Welsh family, who settled in Ireland at the English invasion." [1]

Sir Nicholas Taafe's grandson, Richard Taafe seated at Castle Lumpnagh was Sheriff of Dublin in 1295, and later Sheriff of County Louth in 1315. His son was Archbishop of Armagh. This line of early nobility continued well into the 14th and 15th centuries with more Sheriffs of Louth on record. [2]

Early History of the Taaffe family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Taaffe research. Another 136 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1284, 1441, 1649, 1641, 1603, 1677, 1642, 1661, 1639, 1704, 1685, 1708, 1688, 1695 and 1696 are included under the topic Early Taaffe History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Taaffe Spelling Variations

Names were simply spelled as they sounded by medieval scribes and church officials. Therefore, during the lifetime of a single person, his name was often spelt in many different ways, explaining the many spelling variations encountered while researching the name Taaffe. Some of these variations included: Taafe, Taaf, Taffe, Taffee, Taffie, Taffey and others.

Early Notables of the Taaffe family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family up to this time was John Taaffe, 1st Viscount Taaffe (died before 1641); Theobald Taaffe, 1st Earl of Carlingford (c. 1603-1677), 2nd Viscount Taaffe, of Corren and 2nd Baron of Ballymote between 1642 and 1661, Irish Royalist officer who played a prominent part in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, and accompanied Charles II in exile. Upon the Restoration, he was created 1st Earl of Carlingford; and Francis Taaffe, 3rd Earl of Carlingford (1639-1704), Irish army commander and politician. John Taaffe (fl. 1685-1708), was an Irish informer and Irish priest whose real name is said to have...
Another 128 words (9 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Taaffe Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Taaffe migration to the United States +

Irish immigration to North American began in the late 18th century as many Irish families desired to own their own land. This pattern of immigration grew slowly yet steadily until the 1840s. At that time, a failed crop and a growing population in Ireland resulted in the Great Potato Famine. Poverty, disease, and starvation ravaged the land. To ease their pain and suffering the Irish often looked upon North America as a solution: hundreds of thousands undertook the voyage. Their arrival meant the growth of industry and commerce for British North America and the United States. For the individual Irishman, it meant survival and hope, and the opportunity for work, freedom, and ownership of land. The early immigration and passenger lists revealed many bearing the name Taaffe:

Taaffe Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Patrick Taaffe, who settled in Pennsylvania in 1773
  • Patrick Taaffe, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1773 [3]
Taaffe Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Luke Taaffe, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1838 [3]
  • Thomas Taaffe, who landed in Mississippi in 1892 [3]

Canada Taaffe migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Taaffe Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Miss. Ellen Taaffe, aged 14 who immigrated to Canada, arriving at the Grosse Isle Quarantine Station in Quebec aboard the ship "Free Trader" departing from the port of Liverpool, England but died on Grosse Isle on 22nd August 1847 [4]
  • Ms. Mary Taaffe, aged 22 who immigrated to Canada, arriving at the Grosse Isle Quarantine Station in Quebec aboard the ship "Venilia" departing from the port of Limerick, Ireland but died on Grosse Isle in July 1847 [4]
  • Mrs. Susan Taaffe, aged 35 who immigrated to Canada, arriving at the Grosse Isle Quarantine Station in Quebec aboard the ship "Ganges" departing from the port of Liverpool, England but died on Grosse Isle in August 1847 [4]
  • Miss. Ellen Taaffe, aged 8 who was emigrating through Grosse Isle Quarantine Station, Quebec aboard the ship "Saguenay" departing 5th June 1847 from Cork, Ireland; the ship arrived on 22nd August 1847 but she died on board [5]
  • Miss. Mary Taaffe, aged 8 who was emigrating through Grosse Isle Quarantine Station, Quebec aboard the ship "Saguenay" departing 5th June 1847 from Cork, Ireland; the ship arrived on 22nd August 1847 but she died on board [5]

West Indies Taaffe migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [6]
Taaffe Settlers in West Indies in the 18th Century
  • Henry Taaffe, who arrived in Jamaica in 1751 [3]

Contemporary Notables of the name Taaffe (post 1700) +

  • Sonya Taaffe, American author of short fiction and poetry
  • Charlie Taaffe (b. 1950), American football coach
  • Philip Taaffe (b. 1955), American artist
  • Denis Taaffe (1759-1813), Irish political writer, a native of co. Louth, also known under the pseudonym Julius Vindex
  • Tom Taaffe (b. 1963), Irish racehorse trainer
  • Éamonn Taaffe (b. 1975), Irish retired hurler
  • Edward Charles Richard Taaffe (1898-1967), Austrian gemmologist
  • Peter Taaffe (b. 1942), British politician, General Secretary of the Socialist Party (1997-)
  • Henry Taaffe (1872-1928), 12th Viscount Taaffe, last Viscount Taaffe
  • Eduard Graf Taaffe (1833-1895), 11th Viscount Taaffe and Baron of Ballymote, in the peerage of Ireland, and in 1867 became governor of Upper Austria


The Taaffe Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: In hoc signo spes mea
Motto Translation: In this sign is my hope.


  1. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ MacLysaght, Edward, Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7)
  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. ^ Charbonneau, André, and Doris Drolet-Dubé. A Register of Deceased Persons at Sea and on Grosse Île in 1847. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, 1997. ISBN: 0-660-198/1-1997E (p. 57)
  5. ^ Charbonneau, André, and Doris Drolet-Dubé. A Register of Deceased Persons at Sea and on Grosse Île in 1847. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, 1997. ISBN: 0-660-198/1-1997E (p. 97)
  6. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies


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