Show ContentsWolfe History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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.

Early Origins of the Wolfe family

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.

Early History of the Wolfe family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Wolfe research. Another 85 words (6 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.

Wolfe Spelling Variations

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.

Early Notables of the Wolfe family (pre 1700)

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

Wolfe Ranking

In the United States, the name Wolfe is the 328th most popular surname with an estimated 82,071 people with that name. [1] However, in Canada, the name Wolfe is ranked the 657th most popular surname with an estimated 7,905 people with that name. [2]

Ireland Migration of the Wolfe family to Ireland

Some of the Wolfe family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 34 words (2 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Wolfe migration to the United States +

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 [3]
  • William Wolfe, who landed in Maryland in 1640 [3]
  • Richard Wolfe, who landed in Virginia in 1646 [3]
  • Robert Wolfe, who arrived in Virginia in 1654 [3]
  • George Wolfe, who arrived in Maryland in 1659 [3]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Wolfe Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Anna Margaret Wolfe, aged 13, who landed in New York in 1710 [3]
  • Hans Wolfe, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1743 [3]
  • Coenrad Wolfe, who arrived in New York in 1769-1770 [3]
  • Benjamin Wolfe, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1795 [3]
Wolfe Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Wolfe, aged 29, who arrived in St Louis, Missouri in 1839 [3]
  • Francis Wolfe, aged 35, who arrived in St Louis, Missouri in 1841 [3]
  • Charles Williams Wolfe, who landed in Arkansas in 1844 [3]
  • Henry Wolfe, who arrived in Somerset County, Pennsylvania in 1848 [3]
  • James Wolfe, who landed in Texas in 1850-1906 [3]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Wolfe migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

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

Australia Wolfe migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

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, Australia [4]
  • Mr. William Wolfe, (b. 1815), aged 13 who was convicted in Middlesex, England for 7 years for larceny, transported aboard the "Bussorah Merchant" on 24th March 1828, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [5]
  • Charles Wolfe, English Convict from Warwick, who was transported aboard the "Aboukir" on December 24, 1851, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [6]

New Zealand Wolfe 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:

Wolfe Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Nathaniel Wolfe, (b. 1838), aged 25, British printer, from Somerset travelling from London aboard the ship "Metropolis" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 16th June 1863 [7]
  • Arthur E. Wolfe, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Empress" in 1865

West Indies Wolfe migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [8]
Wolfe Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Richard Wolfe, who settled in Barbados in 1654 along with John, and Elizabeth

Contemporary Notables of the name Wolfe (post 1700) +

  • Thomas Kennerley "Tom" Wolfe (1931-2018), American author and journalist, best known for his book, The Right Stuff (1979) about the Mercury Seven astronauts, winner of the Dos Passos Prize for Literature (1984)
  • General James Wolfe (1727-1759), English military officer remembered mainly for his role defeating the French in Canada and establishing British rule [9]
  • Gene Rodman Wolfe (1931-2019), American science fiction and fantasy writer, most famous for The Book of the New Sun (four volumes, 1980-1983), awarded the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement in 1996
  • 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 Clayton Wolfe (1900-1938), American novelist, considered one of the most important writers in modern American literature
  • Judge E. Wolfe, American fighter pilot and flying ace in the U.S. Army Air Forces, during World War II, credited with 9 aerial victories
  • Prof. Charles David Alexander Wolfe O.B.E., British Professor of Public Health for King’s College London, was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire on 8th June 2018, for services to Stroke and Public Health Medicine [10]
  • Charles Wolfe (1791-1823), Irish poet, born at Blackhall, co. Kildare, on 14 Dec. 1791, one of a family of eleven children and the youngest of eight sons of Theobald Wolfe of Blackhall, first cousin to Arthur Wolfe, first Viscount Kilworden [9]
  • ... (Another 2 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

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 [11]

The Wolfe 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: Fides in adversis
Motto Translation: faith in adversity

Suggested Readings for the name Wolfe +

  • 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.

  1. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  2. "Surnames Meanings, Origins & Distribution Maps - Forebears." Forebears,
  3. Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  4. State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Asia 1 voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1822 with 190 passengers. Retrieved from
  5. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 5th November 2020). Retrieved from
  6. State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2014, November 18) Aboukir voyage to Van Diemen's Land and Norfolk Island. [These convicts appear to have all landed in Van Diemen's Land], Australia in 1851 with 280 passengers. Retrieved from
  7. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from
  9. Wikisource contributors. "Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900." Wikisource . Wikisource , 4 Jun. 2018. Web. 13 Feb. 2019
  10. "Birthday and New Year Honours Lists (1940 to 2019)." Issue 62507, 28 December 2018 | London Gazette, The Gazette, Dec. 2018,
  11. Pan Am Flight 103's victims: A list of those killed 25 years ago | (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from on Facebook