Updated June 9, 2019

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Family name origins & meanings

  • Welsh : nickname for a red-haired person (see Gough).
  • English (of Cornish and Breton origin) : occupational name from Cornish and Breton goff ‘smith’ (cognate with Gaelic gobha). The surname is common in East Anglia, where it is of Breton origin, introduced by followers of William the Conqueror.
  • Irish : reduced form of McGoff.
  • Edward Goffe was a farmer in Cambridge MA whose house was acquired by Harvard College some time before 1654 and used as a dormitory, known as Goffe’s College.