The ancestors of the Willforth family brought their name to England
in the wave of migration after the Norman Conquest
of 1066. 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 Willforth family
The surname Willforth 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 Willforth family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Willforth research.Another 113 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 145 and 1450 are included under the topic Early Willforth History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Willforth Spelling Variations
A multitude of spelling variations
characterize Norman surnames. Many variations occurred because Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England
also had a pronounced effect, as did the court languages of Latin and French. Therefore, one person was often referred to by several different spellings in a single lifetime. The various spellings include Wilfoord, Williford, Wilfort, Wilford and others.
Early Notables of the Willforth family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Willforth Notables in all our PDF Extended History products
and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Willforth family to the New World and Oceana
Many English families left England
, to avoid the chaos of their homeland and migrated to the many British colonies abroad. Although the conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and some travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute, once in the colonies, many of the families prospered and made valuable contributions to the cultures of what would become the United States and Canada. Research into the origins of individual families in North America has revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Willforth or a variant listed above: 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..