CARDIFF, Irish Family History

A Selected History of the CARDIFF Family

The CARDIFF surname has many variations, some of which have passed into obscurity, others are still in common usage. Some of these variations include:

Kevin CARDIFF of Dublin, Ireland, informs me that there are "a number of theories about the name CARDIFF. One is that it comes from the Irish words Cathair Dubh (cah-ir duv) which means black town. Another is that it is a shortening of the name MacARDIFF. There are MacARDIFFS, ARDIFFS and CARDIFFS in the Irish phone books. Another is that it comes from people who came to Ireland, possibly in Norman times, from the Welsh city of that name. There is a small area in County Kildare, Ireland, called KERDIFFSTOWN, which appears to have been spelt CARDIFFSTOWN in certain 18th century documents."

Other theories indicate that CARDIFF is Celtic in origin and refers to the Fort of Didius. The root of the Welsh word CAERDYDD includes caer: a fort. This surname has also been explained as the Fort on the (River) Taff (one of the major rivers in Wales), or CAERTAFF.

Some early references to the surname CARDIFF include Richard De CARDIFF born 1150 in Sandford, Shropshire, England. His daughter Amabil, born 1170, married Thomas De Sandford in 1197. William CARDIFF was Canon and Rector of St. Davids cathedral in Glamorgan, south Wales, in the year 1201. Rebert de CARDIFFE had lands in Dungarvan, County Wexford, Ireland, in 1233. Nicholas KERDIFFE was a lawyer in Dublin in 1609. Early American settlers include Patrick CARDIFF who settled in Georgia in 1733; Christopher CARDIFF arrived in 1768; Thomas CARDIFF settled in New England in 1773; another Patrick settled in Philadelphia in 1868.

Notable contemporaries of this surname include Brigadier Erold CARDIFF, and Jack CARDIFF, Film Director. Dr Joseph Radford CARDIFF was Medical Officer in Carrigbyrne, Ireland, for forty years and Coroner for south Wexford. When he died in November, 1900, he was described by the Wexford People as "one of the foremost political thinkers of his time, not alone in Wexford but in Ireland." Captain Michael CARDIFF rose from a ten-year-old cabin boy to become a distinguished master mariner, respected in many of the world’s ports for his outstanding seamanship. He died in 1964.

Family legend has it that our branch of the CARDIFF family originated in Cardiff Wales and crossed to Ireland in the early 1600's. They settled first in Wexford county then moved north-west to Carlow county, near the city of Carlow.

William Mark CARDIFF was born March 1, 1809, in Carlow county. With his sister Jane and brother George he booked passage to Canada in 1823. They settled in Lanark county in what was to become the province of Ontario.

Another CARDIFF family, which arrived from Ireland in 1820, was already established in Lanark county. This was the family of military settlers Richard CARDIFF, his brother George, George's wife Mary PAYNE and their six sons: John, George, Thomas, Richard, William and Mark. They took up residence in the Perth Military Settlement where their sister Jane was born in 1825.

Other CARDIFF families in Ireland were attracted to southern parts of the globe. Peter and Thomas CARDIFF, of County Kildare, left Ireland in 1839, for Australia. Peter arrived with his wife and six children. Thomas married in Australia to Margaret Dempsey. For further information on the descendants of this family you may write to Frank CARDIFF at his e-mail address.

Christopher CARDIFF came from England via the Bermuda Islands to Sussex County, Maryland. Research on this line has been documented on one website developed by Steve WATERS and on another by John CARDIFF.

A group of CARDIFF family members are producing a book on Cardiff family history to be released next year. Research for this project was conducted by many CARDIFF family members including: Olive(Cardiff) Bell, Marilyn (Bolger) Clark, Adeline (Cardiff) Campbell, Max and Ruth Tuck, Dennis Cardiff and many others whose generous contributions are very much appreciated. So far we have collected over 8200 entries relating to the above mentioned families. We welcome information from any CARDIFF researchers worldwide.


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