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

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. There were other locations with the same name found in Cambridge, Lincolnshire and Warwickshire. The surname Taft is a habitation name that was originally derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads. The surname originated as a means of identifying individuals from a particular area. In the Middle Ages people often assumed the name of the place that they originally lived as their surname during the course of travel.


The surname Taft was first found in Cheshire where they held a family seat from very ancient times, before and after the Norman Conquest in 1066.

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.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Taft research. Another 169 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1296, 1698, 1689, 1750 and 1708 are included under the topic Early Taft History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 113 words (8 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Taft Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


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

Taft Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Sarah Taft, who arrived in Virginia in 1705
  • Joseph Taft arrived in Maryland in 1774

Taft Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • A C Taft, aged 32, landed in Key West, Fla in 1838
  • Fred and R. P. Taft, arrived in San Francisco in 1850

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

Taft Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • John Taft, aged 37, a labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Sir Edward Parry"
  • Mary Taft, aged 31, a domestic servant, arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Sir Edward Parry"
  • John Taft arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Sir Edward Parry" in 1849


  • Helen Herron Taft (1861-1943), American First Lady, wife of President Taft
  • President William Howard Taft (1857-1930), American politician, 27th President of the United States (1909-1913), 10th Chief Justice of the United States (19211930)
  • Bob Taft (b. 1942), American Governor of Ohio, 1999-2007
  • Lorado Taft (1860-1936), American sculptor, writer and educator
  • Robert Taft Jr. (1917-1993), American Senator from Ohio, 1971-1976
  • Robert Alphonso Taft (1889-1953), American Senator from Ohio, 1939-1953
  • Mr. Sidney Taft, English 2nd Class passenger residing in Needham, Massachusetts, USA, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking


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

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  1. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  2. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  3. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  4. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  5. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  6. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  7. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  8. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1968. Print.
  9. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
  10. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  11. ...

The Taft Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Taft 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 1 June 2015 at 08:24.

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