TAFT Surname Meaning and Origin

The Taft surname originated with a word meaning "croft" or "homestead."
David Henderson / Getty Images

The surname Taft is a topographic surname meaning "dweller at the croft or homestead," from the Old and Middle English toft, meaning "curtilage," "site," or "homestead." The name could also have referred to a low hillock where a croft used to stand. Some sources also say the Taft or Toft surname may have originated as a designation for someone from the parish of Toft in Norfolk, England, or similar places in Cambridge, Lincolnshire and Warwickshire.

Surname Origin: English

Alternate Surname Spellings: TOFT, TOFTS

Where in the World is the TAFT Surname Found?

The Taft surname is most commonly found today in the United States, according to WorldNames PublicProfiler, especially in the states of South Dakota, Montana and Utah. It is the next most common in the United Kingdom, especially in the East Midlands and West Midlands regions, as well as in the South West of Ireland. The Taft surname is also fairly common in New Zealand, specifically the Western and Grey districts, and the Western Bay of Plenty district.

Surname distribution data from Forebears also identifies Taft as being most prevalent in the United States, especially in the New England states of Vermont, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut. British census data from 1881–1901, indicates the Taft surname was most common at that time in Derbyshire, followed by Staffordshire and Louth.

The surname is also common in Jersey, the Marshall Islands, Panama, the Northern Mariana Islands and Swaziland.
 

Famous People with the Last Name TAFT

  • William Howard Taft - 27th president of the United States and 10th Chief Justice of the United States
  • Lorado Taft - American sculptor and writer
  • Alphonso Taft - U.S. Attorney General and Secretary of War under Ulysses S. Grant; father of president William H. Taft
  • Robert Taft Sr. - founder of the US Taft Family; arrived in Braintree, Massachuestts about 1695
     

Genealogy Resources for the Surname TAFT

Taft Family Genealogy Page
A membership association devoted to studying and furthering interest in the heritage of descendants of Robert and Sarah Taft, first known in this country in Braintree, Massachusetts in 1675 and of Matthew and Ann Taft who were in Hopkinton, Massachusetts in 1728.

How to Trace Your Family Tree in England and Wales
Learn how to navigate through the wealth of records available for researching family history in England and Wales with this introductory guide.

Presidential Surname Meanings and Origins
Do the surnames of U.S. presidents really have more prestige than your average Smith and Jones? While the proliferance of babies named Tyler, Madison, and Monroe may seem to point in that direction, presidential surnames are really just a cross-section of the American melting pot. 

Taft Family Crest - It's Not What You Think
Contrary to what you may hear, there is no such thing as a Taft family crest or coat of arms for the Taft surname. Coats of arms are granted to individuals, not families, and may rightfully be used only by the uninterrupted male line descendants of the person to whom the coat of arms was originally granted.

FamilySearch - TAFT Genealogy
Explore over 330,000 historical records and lineage-linked family trees posted for the Taft surname and its variations on the free FamilySearch website, hosted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Taft Family Genealogy Forum
Search this popular genealogy forum for the Taft surname to find others who might be researching your ancestors, or post your own Taft query.

TAFT Surname & Family Mailing Lists
RootsWeb hosts a free mailing list for researchers of the Taft surname. Post a query about your own Taft ancestors, or search or browse the mailing list archives.

DistantCousin.com - TAFT Genealogy & Family History
Explore free databases and genealogy links for the last name Taft.

The Taft Genealogy and Family Tree Page
Browse genealogy records and links to genealogical and historical records for individuals with the popular last name Taft from the website of Genealogy Today.


-----------------------

References: Surname Meanings & Origins

Cottle, Basil. Penguin Dictionary of Surnames. Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books, 1967.

Dorward, David. Scottish Surnames. Collins Celtic (Pocket edition), 1998.

Fucilla, Joseph. Our Italian Surnames. Genealogical Publishing Company, 2003.

Hanks, Patrick and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford University Press, 1989.

Hanks, Patrick. Dictionary of American Family Names. Oxford University Press, 2003.

Reaney, P.H. A Dictionary of English Surnames. Oxford University Press, 1997.

Smith, Elsdon C. American Surnames. Genealogical Publishing Company, 1997.

 

>> Back to Glossary of Surname Meanings & Origins