Tiffen History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the Tiffen family arrived in England following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The name Tiffen came from the medieval female given name Tiffania, that comes from the Greek Theophania, composed of the elements theos, meaning God and phainein meaning to appear. Tiffin translates roughly as the manifestation of God. [1]

In a case where a man had a family by a second marriage the children of his second wife would occasionally take her name as a means of distinguishing the two groups.

Early Origins of the Tiffen family

The surname Tiffen was first found in Kent where the single names Theophania, Teffania, Theffanie all appeared in the Curia Regis Rolls for 1206. Later in Devon, Tiphina le Justiser was registered in 1322 and later again, Tiffania was found in Norfolk in 1323. Tiffan and Teffen both appear in the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379. As a surname, the first record we found as Gilbert Tyffayne in Norfolk in 1288. Later Cristina Typhayn was found in the Subsidy Rolls of Somerset in 1327 and later again, William Tyffen was found in the Subsidy Rolls for Suffolk in 1524. [2]

The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 include Johannes Holand et Tiffan uxor ejus; and Teffan Danyll. [1]

Tiffany & Co., the luxury jewelry and specialty company in New York was named and founded in 1837 by Charles Lewis Tiffany (1812-1902), born in Killingly, Connecticut.

Early History of the Tiffen family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Tiffen research. Another 128 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1690, 1536, 1540, 1632, 1750, 1695 and 1759 are included under the topic Early Tiffen History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Tiffen Spelling Variations

It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, Anglo-Norman surnames like Tiffen are characterized by many spelling variations. Scribes and monks in the Middle Ages spelled names they sounded, so it is common to find several variations that refer to a single person. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages such as Norman French and Latin, even literate people regularly changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Tiffen include Tiffen, Tiffin, Tiffing, Tiffine and others.

Early Notables of the Tiffen family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Tiffen Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Tiffen migration to the United States +

Faced with the chaos present in England at that time, many English families looked towards the open frontiers of the New World with its opportunities to escape oppression and starvation. People migrated to North America, as well as Australia and Ireland in droves, paying exorbitant rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, but those who did see the shores of North America were welcomed with great opportunity. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America carried the name Tiffen, or a variant listed above:

Tiffen Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Joseph Tiffen who landed in America in 1752
Tiffen Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Lizzie Tiffen, aged 15, arrived in New York in 1892 aboard the ship "Indiana" from Liverpool, England [3]
  • Mrs. E. Tiffen, aged 42, arrived in New York in 1892 aboard the ship "Indiana" from Liverpool, England [4]
  • Elizabeth Tiffen, aged 18, arrived in New York in 1895 aboard the ship "Britannic" from Liverpool, England [5]

New Zealand Tiffen migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Tiffen Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Henry S. Tiffen, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Brougham" in 1842
  • Mr. James Tiffen, (b. 1834), aged 24, British shepherd travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Maori" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 14th April 1858 [6]

Contemporary Notables of the name Tiffen (post 1700) +

  • Ira Alan Tiffen (b. 1951), American Academy Award and an Emmy Award winning optics designer and glass artist who worked at the Tiffen Company from 1973 to 2004
  • Sol Tiffen, American founder of The Tiffen Company, manufactures filters for photography in 1945
  • Henry Stokes Tiffen (1816-1896), English-born, New Zealand surveyor, pastoralist, land commissioner and politician
  • Rodney Tiffen, Australian emeritus professor of political science in the Department of Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney
  • Haidee Maree Tiffen MNZM (b. 1979), New Zealand head coach for New Zealand Women's Cricket team
  • John Tiffen Patterson (1940-2005), American film director


The Tiffen 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: Patria fidelis
Motto Translation: A faithful country.


  1. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  2. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. ^ "New York Passenger Arrival Lists (Ellis Island), 1892-1924," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:J6RK-YXQ : 6 December 2014), Lizzie Tiffen, 03 Oct 1892; citing departure port Liverpool, arrival port New York, ship name Indiana, NARA microfilm publication T715 and M237 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
  4. ^ "New York Passenger Arrival Lists (Ellis Island), 1892-1924," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:J6RK-YX7 : 6 December 2014), Mrs. E. Tiffen, 03 Oct 1892; citing departure port Liverpool, arrival port New York, ship name Indiana, NARA microfilm publication T715 and M237 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
  5. ^ "New York Passenger Arrival Lists (Ellis Island), 1892-1924," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JXS2-QMZ : 6 December 2014), Elizabeth Tiffen, 09 Aug 1895; citing departure port Liverpool, arrival port New York, ship name Britannic, NARA microfilm publication T715 and M237 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
  6. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html


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