Taft History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Taft name has descended through the generations from the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture. Their name comes from having lived in the parish of Toft in the county of Norfolk. This place-name was originally derived from the Old Norman word Topt which was used to denote those who lived in the trees or forest. [1]

Toft is also "a township in the parish of Knutsford, Cheshire and is the parent of the Cheshire Tofts." [2]

The Domesday Book of 1086 has a variety of spellings for the various parishes: Toft, Cambridgeshire, Tofth; Toft Minks, Norfolk, Toft; and West Tofts, Norfolk, Toftes. [3]

"The name of Tofts is now best represented in the district of Bishop's Stortford [Hertfordshire]. Tofts is a Norfolk parish, and De Toftes was a Norfolk surname in the 13th century (H. R.). Two parishes in Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire are called Toft." [4]

Early Origins of the Taft family

The surname Taft was first found in Northumberland where Elyas del Toft was listed in the Pipe Rolls of 1197. [5] The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 proved the widespread use of the name at that time: Gundreda de Toftes, Norfolk; Eborard de Toft, Norfolk; Alan de Toft, Cambridgeshire; and Robert de Toft, Bedfordshire. [2]

The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 included an entry for Johannes Attn toftes et uxor and later, Hugh de Toft was recorded in East Cheshire in 1394. [2] The Subsidy Rolls for Suffolk included a listing of Gilbert de Toftes in 1327. John de Taft was recorded in the Assize Rolls for Cheshire in 1340. [5]

By the 12th century they had moved north and acquired the old lands and barony which they called Tofts in the parish of Kirkton in Roxburghshire, Scotland. Ingram de Toftes, Robert de Toftes, and William de Toftes all rendered homage in 1296 to King Edward I of England on his brief conquest of Scotland. William of Toftys was Rector of the church at Great Cauerys (Cavers) in 1363. [6]

Early History of the Taft family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Taft research. Another 97 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1499, 1637, 1641, 1580, 1605, 1620, 1640, 1725, 1675, 1669, 1680, 1758, 1698, 1689, 1750 and 1708 are included under the topic Early Taft History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Taft Spelling Variations

Only recently has spelling become standardized in the English language. As the English language evolved in the Middle Ages, the spelling of names changed also. The name Taft has undergone many spelling variations, including Taft, Tafte, Toft, Tofte, Tofts, Tuffs and others.

Early Notables of the Taft family (pre 1700)

Notables of this surname at this time include: Robert Toft (d. 1620), English poet and translator, a 'gentleman' who travelled in France and Italy. Robert Taft Sr. (c. 1640-1725) was the first US Taft and founder of the US Taft Family. Some sources claim he emigrated to the United States in 1675 arriving at Braintree in Massachusetts and others claim he arrived at Mendon in 1669. The Taft homestead was in Mendon but some of his children were born in Braintree. William Howard...
Another 83 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Taft Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Taft Ranking

In the United States, the name Taft is the 3,099th most popular surname with an estimated 9,948 people with that name. [7]


United States Taft migration to the United States +

To escape the unstable social climate in England of this time, many families boarded ships for the New World with the hope of finding land, opportunity, and greater religious and political freedom. Although the voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, those families that arrived often found greater opportunities and freedoms than they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make significant contributions to the rapidly developing colonies in which they settled. Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name Taft were among those contributors:

Taft Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Robert Taft, who landed in Braintree, Massachusetts in 1667 [8]
Taft Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Sarah Taft, who arrived in Virginia in 1705 [8]
  • Joseph Taft, who arrived in Maryland in 1774
Taft Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • A C Taft, aged 32, who landed in Key West, Fla in 1838 [8]
  • Fred and R. P. Taft, who arrived in San Francisco in 1850

Canada Taft migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Taft Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Jos Taft, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
Taft Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Vanden B Taft, who landed in Canada in 1841

Australia Taft migration to Australia +

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

Taft Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • John Taft, aged 37, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Sir Edward Parry" [9]
  • Mary Taft, aged 31, a domestic servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Sir Edward Parry" [9]
  • John Taft, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Sir Edward Parry" in 1849 [9]

Contemporary Notables of the name Taft (post 1700) +

  • President William Howard Taft (1857-1930), American politician, 27th President of the United States (1909-1913), 10th Chief Justice of the United States (1921–1930)
  • Jerry Taft (1943-2020), American meteorologist and weather presenter, Chief Meteorologist for WLS-TV in Chicago
  • Robert Francis Taft S.J. (1932-2018), American Jesuit priest and Archimandrite of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church
  • Horace Dutton Taft (1861-1943), American educator and founder of The Taft School in Watertown, Connecticut
  • Charles Phelps Taft (1843-1929), American lawyer and politician, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Ohio (1895-1897)
  • Henry Waters Taft (1859-1945), American lawyer and author, brother of President William Howard Taft
  • Alphonso Taft (1810-1891), American jurist, diplomat, 34th Attorney General (1876-1877) and 31st Secretary of War under President Ulysses S. Grant in 1876
  • Peter Rawson Taft (1785-1867), American paternal grandfather of President William Howard Taft
  • Lydia Chapin Taft (1712-1778), the first woman known to legally vote in colonial America; she was wife of Josiah Taft (1709-1756)
  • Robert Alphonso "Bob" Taft III (b. 1942), American politician, Governor of Ohio, 1999-2007
  • ... (Another 4 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Dorsetshire
  • Leonard Taft (d. 1945), British Marine aboard the HMS Dorsetshire when she was struck by air bombers and sunk; he died in the sinking [10]
RMS Lusitania
  • Mr. Sidney Taft, English 2nd Class passenger residing in Needham, Massachusetts, USA, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania (1915) and survived the sinking [11]


Suggested Readings for the name Taft +

  • Taft Family Gathering by Beatrice Taft Aldridge.
  • A Meeting of the Descendants of Ebenezer and Mary Howard Taft by Charlotte E. McShea.

  1. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  3. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  4. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  5. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  6. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  7. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  8. ^ 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)
  9. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The SIR EDWARD PARRY 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849SirEdwardParry.htm
  10. ^ Force Z Survivors HMS Dorsetshire Crew List, (Retrieved 2018, February 13th), https://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listdorsetshirecrew.html
  11. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 6) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/


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