What is the origin of the last name Gifford?

The last name Gifford has English origins, deriving from the Old English personal name "Gyffard" or "Gyffarth," which translates to "spear-strength" or "spear-brave." This surname was originally a patronymic, indicating that it was formed by adding the suffix "-ard" to the given name Giff or Geff, a diminutive of Geoffrey. The Gifford family lineage can be traced back to the feudal barony of Gifford in East Lothian, Scotland, where they held extensive lands, but they also established prominent branches in England.

Countries of origin for the last name Gifford

The last name GIFFORD has a rich history that can be traced back to ancient times. It is an English surname that originated from the Old French name “Giffard,” which was itself derived from the Germanic personal name “Gyffard.”

The etymology of the name “Gifford” reveals its meaning as “brave spear.” The Germanic element “Gyff” refers to a spear, while “hard” means brave or hardy. This indicates that individuals with the last name GIFFORD may have had ancestors who were known for their bravery or skill in battle.

As is common with many last names, the spelling of GIFFORD has evolved over time. Variations of the name include Giffard, Gyfford, Gyffarde, and Giffarde. Such variations are typical in names that have been passed down through generations and across different regions.

The GIFFORD family is notably associated with the county of Buckinghamshire in England. John Gifford, who was born in 1385, is considered the first recorded bearer of the surname. From this point on, the name became more widely used, particularly in the southern parts of England.

Another prominent figure in GIFFORD history is William Gifford (1756-1826), an English critic, editor, and poet. He is best known for being the editor of the influential literary journal, The Quarterly Review. William Gifford’s contributions to the field of literature have left a lasting mark.

Throughout history, the GIFFORD name has spread beyond England. Today, it can be found in various English-speaking countries, including the United States, where it has been passed down through generations of families. This demonstrates the lasting impact and migration of individuals with the GIFFORD surname.

While the exact origins and meaning of the GIFFORD surname are clear, there is still much more to uncover about the individuals who bear this name. Genealogical research, historical documents, and personal stories can shed light on the diverse range of people who share this last name.

Interesting facts about the last name Gifford

  • The surname Gifford is of English origin and has several possible meanings and origins.
  • One possible origin of the surname is from the Old English personal name “Gyffard” or “Gyffart”, which means “gift-brave” or “gift-strong”.
  • In some instances, the surname Gifford is derived from a place name, referring to someone who lived in or near a place called Giffords or Gifford.
  • Gifford is also a locational surname derived from the Old English words “gyf” meaning “gift” and “ford” meaning “ford”, suggesting a person who lived near a river crossing.
  • The Gifford family held a notable position in England since the Norman Conquest in the 11th century and held vast estates in various parts of the country.
  • Sir John Giffard, a prominent member of the family, was a key figure during the reign of King Richard the Lionheart and served as the Sheriff of Hampshire in the late 12th century.
  • The surname Gifford has been adopted by individuals of Scottish and Irish descent as well, although it has less common usage in these regions.
  • Throughout history, individuals with the surname Gifford have pursued diverse professions, including military service, politics, literature, and the arts.
  • Gifford is a relatively uncommon surname, with a concentration of individuals bearing the name primarily in English-speaking countries.
  • In modern times, variations of the surname Gifford include Giffard, Giffart, and Giffordson.

Name Rank


There are around 19514 people with the last name Gifford in the US

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