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An excerpt from archives copyright 2000 - 2016

Origins Available: Dutch, English, German, Irish

The Wolfe family name is thought to be of Norman origins. It comes from an early member of the family who was a person who bore some fancied resemblance to the wolf, either in appearance or behavior.


The surname Wolfe was first found in Cheshire where they were descended from Hugh Lupus (Wolf,) the Earl of Chester, and chief subject of King William the Conqueror.

Endless spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled Wolfe, Wolf, Woolf, Woolfe, Wolff, de Wolfe and many more.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Wolfe research. Another 201 words (14 lines of text) covering the year 1202 is included under the topic Early Wolfe History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


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


Some of the Wolfe family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 105 words (8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


To escape the political and religious persecution within England at the time, many English families left for the various British colonies abroad. The voyage was extremely difficult, though, and the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving. But for those who made it, the trip was most often worth it. Many of the families who arrived went on to make valuable contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Wolfe or a variant listed above:

Wolfe Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Peter Wolfe, who landed in Salem, Massachusetts in 1634
  • William Wolfe, who landed in Maryland in 1640
  • Richard Wolfe, who landed in Virginia in 1646
  • Robert Wolfe, who arrived in Virginia in 1654
  • Richard Wolfe settled in Barbados in 1654 along with John, and Elizabeth
  • ...

Wolfe Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Anna Margaret Wolfe, aged 13, landed in New York in 1710
  • Hans Wolfe, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1743
  • Coenrad Wolfe, who arrived in New York in 1769-1770
  • Benjamin Wolfe, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1795

Wolfe Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Thomas Wolfe, aged 29, arrived in St Louis, Missouri in 1839
  • Francis Wolfe, aged 35, arrived in St Louis, Missouri in 1841
  • Charles Williams Wolfe, who landed in Arkansas in 1844
  • Henry Wolfe, who arrived in Somerset County, Pennsylvania in 1848
  • James Wolfe, who landed in Texas in 1850-1906
  • ...

Wolfe Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • Robert Wolfe, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750

Wolfe Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • David Wolfe, who landed in Manitoba in 1875

Wolfe Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • David Wolfe, English convict from Lancaster, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on April 1st, 1822, settling in New South Wales, Austraila
  • Charles Wolfe, English Convict from Warwick, who was transported aboard the "Aboukir" on December 24, 1851, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia

Wolfe Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Arthur E. Wolfe arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Empress" in 1865

  • Bernard B. Wolfe (1914-2016), American politician and centenarian, Member of the Illinois House of Representatives (1965-1974)
  • Frances Wolfe (1926-2013), birth name of Fran Warren, an American popular singer
  • Jack Albert Wolfe (1936-2005), American paleontologist
  • Thomas Kennerley "Tom" Wolfe (b. 1931), American author and journalist, winner of the Dos Passos Prize for literature (1984)
  • Thomas Clayton Wolfe (1900-1938), American novelist, considered one of the most important writers in modern American literature
  • General James Wolfe (1727-1759), English military officer remembered mainly for his role defeating the French in Canada and establishing British rule
  • Charles Wolfe (1791-1823), Irish poet
  • William "Billy" Wolfe (b. 1924), former leader of the Scottish National Party

Wolfe Historic Events

Pan Am Flight 103 (Lockerbie)

  • Miriam Luby Wolfe (1968-1988), American Student from Severna Park, Maryland, America, who flew aboard the Pan Am Flight 103 from Frankfurt to Detroit, known as the Lockerbie bombing in 1988 and died

  • The Wolf, Wolfe, Wolff Families of Pennsylvania by Raymond Alvin Wolff.
  • Joe Garrett: A Pictorial and Written History fo the Joseph Luther Garrett Family, 1860-1935.
  • The Wolfe Family in Raleigh by Richard Walser.

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: Fides in adversis
Motto Translation: faith in adversity


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    Other References

    1. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
    2. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
    3. Shirley, Evelyn Philip. Noble and Gentle Men of England Or Notes Touching The Arms and Descendants of the Ancient Knightley and Gentle Houses of England Arranged in their Respective Counties 3rd Edition. Westminster: John Bowyer Nichols and Sons, 1866. Print.
    4. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
    5. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
    6. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
    7. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
    8. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
    9. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
    10. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
    11. ...

    The Wolfe Family Crest was acquired from the archives. The Wolfe 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 18 April 2016 at 09:36.

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