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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016

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


The surname Taffe 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]

Church officials and medieval scribes spelled names as they sounded; therefore, single person, could have his name spelt many different ways during their lifetime. While investigating the origins of the name Taffe, many spelling variations were encountered, including: Taafe, Taaf, Taffe, Taffee, Taffie, Taffey and others.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Taffe research. Another 271 words (19 lines of text) covering the years 1284, 1441, 1649, 1641, 1603, 1677, 1642, 1661, 1639 and 1704 are included under the topic Early Taffe History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 149 words (11 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Taffe Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Ireland went through one of the most devastating periods in its history with the arrival of the Great Potato Famine of the 1840s. Many also lost their lives from typhus, fever and dysentery. And poverty was the general rule as tenant farmers were often evicted because they could not pay the high rents. Emigration to North America gave hundreds of families a chance at a life where work, freedom, and land ownership were all possible. For those who made the long journey, it meant hope and survival. The Irish emigration to British North America and the United States opened up the gates of industry, commerce, education and the arts. Early immigration and passenger lists have shown many Irish people bearing the name Taffe:

Taffe Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Joane Taffe, who arrived in Virginia in 1654
  • Robert Taffe, who arrived in Braintree, Massachusetts in 1667
  • Mary Taffe settled in Barbados in 1677

Taffe Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • W Taffe, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851
  • K aroline Taffe, who arrived in Brazil in 1859
  • Ludwig Taffe, who landed in America in 1867
  • Karl Ludwig Taffe, who landed in North America in 1867


  • John E. Taffe, American politician, Representative from Massachusetts 6th District, 1936
  • John Taffe, American politician, Secretary of Colorado Territory, 1875-76
  • John Taffe (1827-1884), American Republican politician, Newspaper editor; Member of Nebraska territorial House of Representatives, 1858-59
  • John Taffe (1827-1884), American politician, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Nebraska (1867-1876)
  • Jeffrey Charles Taffe (b. 1981), American NHL ice hockey center
  • Ayodele Taffe (b. 1994), Trinidadian sprinter


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.


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  1. ^ Lowe, 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)

Other References

  1. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  2. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  3. Grehan, Ida. Dictionary of Irish Family Names. Boulder: Roberts Rinehart, 1997. Print. (ISBN 1-57098-137-X).
  4. Fitzgerald, Thomas W. Ireland and Her People A Library of Irish Biography 5 Volumes. Chicago: Fitzgerald. Print.
  5. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  6. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  7. MacLysaght, Edward. The Surnames of Ireland 3rd Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1978. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2278-0).
  8. McDonnell, Frances. Emigrants from Ireland to America 1735-1743 A Transcription of the report of the Irish House of Commons into Enforced emigration to America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1331-5).
  9. MacLysaght, Edward. Mores Irish Familes. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-0126-0).
  10. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  11. ...

The Taffe Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Taffe Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 16 December 2015 at 10:30.

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