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Coffin Family Crest / Coffin Coat of Arms

Coffin Family Crest / Coffin Coat of Arms

This surname COFFIN appears to have taken root in the south-western counties of England. Several Devonshire families bear the name. Sir Elias Coffin held lands in the county in the reign of King John (1199-1216). The direct line became extinct with Richard Coffin in 1766, when his estates were inherited by his nephews. Their descendants reassumed the surname Coffin in 1797. A branch of the family was established in America by Tristram Coffyn (1606-81) who founded the colony of Nantucket. He emigrated in 1642, and is probably the ancestor of all American bearers of the name. Early records mention Henry Coffyn, who was documented during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377), County Somerset. Thomas Chafyn registered at Oxford University in the year of 1505. Robert Gilbert and Mary Coffen were married at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in the year 1788. John Caffin and Isabella Blandell were married at the same church in 1794. Many modern family names throughout Europe reflect the profession or occupation of their forbears in the Middle Ages and derive from the position held by their ancestors in the village, noble household or religious community in which they lived and worked. The addition of their profession to their birth name made it easier to identity individual tradesmen and craftsmen. As generations passed and families moved around, so the original identifying names developed into the corrupted but simpler versions that we recognise today. The name is also spelt Caffin, Caffyn, Chafen and Chaffine. The rise of surnames, according to the accepted theory, was due to the Norman Conquest of 1066 when Old English personal-names were rapidly superseded by the new christian names introduced by the Normans. Of these, only a few were really popular and in the 12th century this scarcity of christian names led to the increasing use of surnames to distinguish the numerous individuals of the same name. Some Normans had hereditary surnames before they came to England, but there is evidence that surnames would have developed in England even had there been no Norman Conquest. The development of the feudal system made it essential that the king should know exactly what service each person owed. Payments to and by the exchequer required that debtors and creditors should be particularized, and it became official that each individual acquired exact identification.

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Last Updated: April 12th, 2023

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