When the ancestors of the Willfoorthay family emigrated to England
following the Norman Conquest
in 1066 they brought their family name with them. They lived in Nottinghamshire
, at Wilford.
This placename is derived from the name Norman-French name Will,
a pet form of William
and the word ford,
meaning a river crossing,
and indicates that the ford in question belonged to William.
Early Origins of the Willfoorthay family
The surname Willfoorthay was first found in Nottinghamshire
at Wilford (also known as Wilfrids Ford) a parish and village in the union of Basford, in the north division of the wapentake
of Rushcliffe. The village dates back to at least the Domesday Book
when it was listed as Wilesford CITATION[CLOSE]
Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
and literally meant "willow-tree ford," from the Old English words "wilig" + "ford." CITATION[CLOSE]
Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
At that time, the land was held William Peverel, a Norman Baron
, who was granted the fishery in the district of Clifton. Wilford House was built by Henry Smith, Esq. in 1828. CITATION[CLOSE]
Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
Early History of the Willfoorthay family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Willfoorthay research.Another 113 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 145 and 1450 are included under the topic Early Willfoorthay History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Willfoorthay Spelling Variations
in names were a common occurrence in the eras before English spelling was standardized a few hundred
years ago. In the Middle Ages, even the literate regularly changed the spellings of their names as the English language incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other European languages. Many variations of the name Willfoorthay have been found, including Wilfoord, Williford, Wilfort, Wilford and others.
Early Notables of the Willfoorthay family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Willfoorthay Notables in all our PDF Extended History products
and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Willfoorthay family to the New World and Oceana
For many English families, the social climate in England
was oppressive and lacked opportunity for change. For such families, the shores of Ireland
, and the New World beckoned. They left their homeland at great expense in ships that were overcrowded and full of disease. Many arrived after the long voyage sick, starving, and without a penny. But even those were greeted with greater opportunity than they could have experienced back home. Numerous English settlers who arrived in the United States and Canada at this time went on to make important contributions to the developing cultures of those countries. 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 Willfoorthay were among those contributors: Joseph and Hannah Wilford arrived in New England
in 1766; Eleanor Wilford and her husband arrived in Maryland in 1733. Joh Wilfort arrived in Philadelphia in 1849..