Jeffries Surname Genealogy
Old French personal names of “Jeufroi,” “Jefroi,” or “Geuffroi,”
meaning “peaceful place,” were brought to England by the Normans.
They became Jeffrey or Geoffrey in Middle English. Jeffries is
the patronymic (“son of”) from Jeffrey.Modern variants of the surname are Jeffries, Jefferies and
Jeffries Resources on
- Jeffries Family History. Jeffries from Berkshire.
- Charles Jeffries – The Man and His Family.
Charles Jeffries, a London tinker.
- Jeffreys Family Papers
Papers of David Jeffries, Boston merchant, and descendants.
Wales. There was a family
who later became
Jeffreys who had owned lands in Llywel parish in Brecon since the early
1500’s and possibly earlier. Their home was Ynys Clydach.
of this family moved to London in the 1650’s and became a
wealthy tobacco merchant. On his death, his business was carried
on by his nephew Sir Jeffrey Jeffreys, described as “a merchant
of great fortune” (he was in fact a slave trader).
Another line of
Jeffreys in Brecon began with Jeffrey Jeffreys, a prosperous mercer,
had purchased the Abercynrig estate in 1621. His
descendants later established themselves in Swansea.
John Jeffreys, chief justice of the Anglesey court in north Wales, was
the first of his family in the late 1500’s to adopt the Jeffreys
name. His son John, also a judge, lived at Acton Hall, the
largest house in Wrexham at that time. It was there that his
George Jeffreys, later to be known as the
Judge,” was born. The Judge was married twice and had thirteen
children, but no surviving grandchildren. The Jeffreys line continued
through his younger brother James.
Early Jeffries in England were in Worcestershire. Henry Jeffreys
was recorded as leasing Ham manor near Clifton in 1505 and the Jeffreys
were there for the next two centuries. Joyce Jeffreys of this
family was an enterprising businesswoman who lived through the Civil
War. Meanwhile William Jefferies, who had been a cofferer at the
Henry VIII, had been able to acquire Earls Croome Court in
One Jeffries family history began with a Henry Jeffries who was born in
Wiltshire in 1775 and then moved to Berkshire as a young man. A
Jeffries family in Herefordshire in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s
was one of the first developers of the Hereford breed of cattle. Thomas Jeffries
bred the famous Hereford bull Cutmore in 1836.
Richard Jefferies, born near Swindon in Wiltshire, was a Victorian
writer on nature and rural life. His birthplace and home there is
now a museum open to the public.
Generally, Jeffries and its variants were names to be found in the west
country, either side of the English/Welsh border. By the 19th
- the Jeffries spelling appeared most often in a line running south
from Staffordshire into Gloucestershire
- Jefferies was more to be seen in the southwest, in the counties
of Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Somerset
- whilst Jeffreys, the earliest spelling but by that time the least
used of the three spellings, was a name
then mainly of south Wales.
Sir Jeffrey Jeffreys the slave trader had owned large tracts of land in
Virginia and Edward Jeffreys of his family moved there from Barbados in
the 1680’s. He settled in Richmond county where he died in
1715. Moses Jeffries
was born in Fauquier county, Virginia in 1771. His family was
followed in Marie Jeffries Capps’ 1973 book The Moses Jeffries Family of Northern
Virginia. The family of Jim Jeffries the boxer had come
originally from Virginia. He himself was born in Ohio and his
moved to California when he was a young man.
Meanwhile in New England David Jeffries had arrived from Wiltshire in
1677 and become a merchant in Boston. From his line came two eminent
physicians – John
Jeffries, a surgeon at the time of the Revolutionary
War, and a later John Jeffries who founded the Massachusetts Eye and
Ear Infirmary in Boston in 1824.
and New Zealand.
Two Jefferys who came to Australia in the 19th century may have had
family connections with Judge Jeffreys:
- Arthur Jeffreys, the youngest son of the Rev. John Jeffreys of
Barnes in London, who came to Australia in 1839. He prospered as
a cattle and sheep rancher, naming his home Acton after the Jeffreys
home in north Wales, but he died relatively young. His son
became an MP back in England and his grandson a baronet.
- and George Jeffery who emigrated to South Australia in
1847. Later George Jefferys served on a cruiser ship during the
Boxer rebellion in China (his diary of those times has been preserved)
and as a Western Australian MP in the 1950’s.
Henry Jeffreys, born to an English family in
India, immigrated to Otago, New Zealand in 1850. He died young
and his son Henry was committed to the Dunedin lunatic asylum while
suffering from religious mania. But his wife Ellen lived
on. Her paintings survive in the Otago Early
Settlers Museum and the Hocken Library.
If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:
George Jeffreys was
known as the “Hanging Judge” because of how he dealt with the
ringleaders of Monmouth’s rebellion in 1685.
Richard Jefferies was an
English writer about nature and rural life in Victorian times.
Jeffries became boxing heavyweight champion of the world when
he defeated Bob Fitzsimmons in Brooklyn in 1899.
Boyd Jefferies founded the
global investment bank of Jefferies & Company in 1962.
Select Jeffries Today
- 16,000 in the UK (most numerous
in West Midlands)
- 10,000 in America (most numerous in Ohio)
- 9,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)
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