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Olliff Coat of Arms / Olliff Family Crest

Olliff Coat of Arms / Olliff Family Crest

The surname of OLLIFF was a baptismal name 'the son of Olive'. There are many variant spellings of the name which include Olliph, Olyffe and Olif. The name, which was originally brought to England by the Normans from France, was popular throughout Europe in the Middle Ages, as having been borne by one of Charlemagne's paladins, the faithful friend of Roland, about whose exploits there were many popular romances. The name ostensibly means 'olive-tree'. The earliest of the name on record appears to be Adam Olif who was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. William Ollife appears in County Lancashire in 1400. Later instances include Olyffe Tooker who was baptised at St. Columb Major, County Cornwall in the year 1579 and Joseph Olliffe married Grace Craft at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in the year 1757. The bulk of European surnames in countries such as England and France were formed in the 13th and 14th centuries. The process started earlier and continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the 11th century people did not have surnames, whereas by the 15th century they did. Hereditary surnames were originally imported from France into England during the Norman Conquest of 1066. In the two centuries or so after the Conquest surnames were acquired by most families of major landholders, and many landed families of lesser importance. There appears to have been a constant trickle of migration into Britain between about the years 1200 and 150O, mostly from France and the Low Countries, with a small number of migrants from Scandinavia, Germany, Italy and the Iberian peninsular, and occasional individuals from further afield. During this period groups of aliens settled in this country as for example, the Germans who from the late 15th century onwards settled in Cumbria to work the metal mines. Immigration during this time had only a small effect on the body of surnames used in Britain. In many cases, the surnames of immigrants were thoroughly Anglicised. The late sixteenth century saw the arrival, mostly in London and the south-coast ports of large numbers of people fleeing from the war regions of France.


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Last Updated: May 9, 2020

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