Show ContentsTaff History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

While this surname is generally regarded as Irish, we must look further back to properly understand its origin. Taff 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 Taff is Táth, which is pronounced, and indeed, often spelled, Taa.

Early Origins of the Taff family

The surname Taff 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 Taff family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Taff 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 Taff History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Taff Spelling Variations

Medieval scribes and church officials spelt names simply the way they sounded, which explains the various name spelling variations of the name Taff that were encountered when researching that surname. The many spelling variations included: Taafe, Taaf, Taffe, Taffee, Taffie, Taffey and others.

Early Notables of the Taff 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 Taff Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Taff Ranking

In the United States, the name Taff is the 17,118th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [3]

United States Taff migration to the United States +

A great number of Irish families left their homeland in the late 18th century and throughout the 19th century, migrating to such far away lands as Australia and North America. The early settlers left after much planning and deliberation. They were generally well off but they desired a tract of land that they could farm solely for themselves. The great mass of immigrants to arrive on North American shores in the 1840s differed greatly from their predecessors because many of them were utterly destitute, selling all they had to gain a passage on a ship or having their way paid by a philanthropic society. These Irish people were trying to escape the aftermath of the Great Potato Famine: poverty, starvation, disease, and, for many, ultimately death. Those that arrived on North American shores were not warmly welcomed by the established population, but they were vital to the rapid development of the industry, agriculture, and infrastructure of the infant nations of the United States and what would become Canada. Early passenger and immigration lists reveal many Irish settlers bearing the name Taff:

Taff Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • James Taff, aged 25, who landed in New York in 1812 [4]

Canada Taff migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Taff Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Patrick Taff, aged 21, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Neptune" in 1834

Contemporary Notables of the name Taff (post 1700) +

  • Mark A. Taff, American Libertarian politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Washington 8th District, 2002 [5]
  • Henry F. Taff, American politician, Mayor of Takoma Park, Maryland, 1923-26 [5]
  • H. S. Taff, American Democratic Party politician, Candidate for Missouri State House of Representatives from Crawford County, 1950 [5]
  • Albert E. Taff, American Republican politician, Delegate to Illinois State Constitutional Convention 43rd District, 1920-22; Member of Illinois Republican State Central Committee, 1925 [5]
  • Adam Taff (b. 1965), American Republican politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Kansas 3rd District, 2002; Delegate to Republican National Convention from Kansas, 2004 [5]

The Taff 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. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  4. 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)
  5. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 8) . Retrieved from on Facebook