Dufford Family

The first Dufford ancestor for whom we have records in America is Philip Dufford (or Johann (Hans) Philipp Tufford/Duffort as he appears in various records). As with many settlers of this era from the Palatinate, the Duffords were fleeing from religious persecution but also looking for new opportunities in the New World. Although this generation left Europe from the Palatinate, it is thought that the family was originally French or Flemish Huguenot in origin, possibly named DuFort, Dufoor or Devoor(t). Many of the Huguenot families fled to the Palatinate in the mid to late-1600’s. Over time, they began to adapt their names and language to that of the Palatinate, so that by the time many of the families immigrated to America in the early to mid-1700’s, they were indistinguishable from the more German-oriented settlers.

Dufford family in Europe

LangensoultzbachWe are fortunate in that this family is one of the few for which an actual place name in Europe has been passed down as their point of origin instead of simply a region or country. We also have physical records from that location, proving their residence.

The Dufford family resided In Langensoultzbach just prior to their emigration. Langensoultzbach is now a few kilometers from Woerth in the Bas-Rhin/Alsace area of France, and about 8 kilometers from the current French-German border, but it has found itself under various jurisdictions as the border constantly shifted over the years.


Dufford houseIn the Fall of 2020, I visited the Langensoultzbach and the surrounding area. Another researcher had determined what he believes to be the location of the house inhabited by the Dufford family just prior to immigration (see image below right and the gallery at the bottom). Unfortunately, the current owners are relatively new and do not know anything about the history of the house. The museum and church were closed, as was the town hall. The book published by the local historical society discusses the middle ages and then skips to the 1800’s. There is unfortunately little information on the history of the village in the late 1600’s and early 1700’s. The book does list the number of dwellings in 1665 as 25 and 1693 as 28, a modest growth. However, by 1723, the number of dwellings had grown to 49. It seems that there must have been an influx above normal population growth in that 30 year period, and this is likely the period that the Duffords moved to the area.

In any case, the Duffords were definitely living in Langensoultzbach by 1721 at the latest, when records begin to be found in the church registers. These include baptism records for several children, the death of Eva Anthoni and Philip’s remarriage to Anna Maria Martini. Unfortunately, the records are not indexed and the handwriting of the minister or scribe prior to about 1736 is horrendous, so sorting through them for possible earlier clues will take more time.

In these records, however, the name is spelled Dufort or Duffort, and in one case perhaps Dufforth. There is often a curl above the u itself, which some have interpreted as an umlaut. This is not correct! This mark was often used in German script at that time to differentiate the u from similar letters such as n or m, and is clearly distinguishable from the real umlauts used on the same page. The earliest records I have seen therefore seem to indicate that the European spelling in the early 18th century was likely Duffort and not Dufford.

Residence prior to Langensoultzbach

Where the Duffords may have lived prior to 1700 – and how many times they may have moved – is unproven. Assuming the name was Dufort, Dufore, Duffort or a variant, and likely French, not German, records for these names can be found throughout France in the 1600’s. There are clusters near Paris, in Picardie and in the southwestern area of France, a known Huguenot stronghold from which people are known to have immigrated to the Alsace in the late 1600’s. There is also a very small village (current population about 140) named Duffort in the area, but little is known of its history or whether it could be related to this family. At the time of the first census in 1793, it boasted nearly 500 inhabitants, and it is said to have a church with relics of the 1600’s.

Another researcher has suggested that the Duffords descend from the old British family of Ufford, several of whom fought in France for Edward III during the 100 Years War. It can be verified that several members of this family, and most notably Robert who became the Earl of Suffolk, did fight at various times and locations in France in the 1300’s. He was at one time imprisoned for several months in 1340 and quartered in various locations in France in other periods. It is said that several brothers, a son and members of his extended family also fought in France, so although I have found no records linking this family to the early Dufforts,  it is possible that one or more members of the family remained in France. It is equally possible that the name simply originated as a descriptor, for instance of someone living near or in a fort. For now, the earlier residence of the Duffords remains a subject for future research.

Dufford family immigrates to America

The Dufford family, consisting of father Philip Sr., his second wife Anna Maria Martini, and several children, including the ancestor in our line, Johann Adam Dufford, traveled to Philadelphia in 1738 on the ship “Robert & Alice”. 1738 was an exceptional year for emigration from the Palatinate in general. Numbers of emigrants from the Palatinate had increased steadily from 268 in 1735 and 736 in 1736 to 1,528 in 1737. 1738 was to see nearly 6000 passengers, nearly all to Philadelphia, in contrast to previous years when many also went to the Carolinas. “Recruiters”- often previous immigrants returning temporarily for various reasons – were used to secure passengers among their former relatives and neighbours. This was so successful that the numbers reaching Rotterdam exceeded the capacity of the ships available. Many were sent to holding camps tot await ships, a situation not unlike the refugee situation we still see today. The Dufford family had first made a six month journey down the Rhine River to Rotterdam where they found their ship and sailed to England, being cleared out of Dover. This stop was apparently a requirement of the British government. From there, they set sail for the colonies.  Although some accounts of the voyage state that the ship  Robert & Alice was originally destined for New York but was blown off course to the south, this is almost certainly incorrect.

Due to the unexpectedly large number of emigrants, additional ships, often with first-time captains, were pressed into service. One eyewitness reported:

“Captains and their factors or merchants came up the Maas and Rhine to meet them at the border. The two principal shippers, the Hopes and the Stedmans, carefully selected such people who still had some means and belongings, and enticed them into their contracts. Then the Rhine boats went on, some to Rotterdam and some to’ Amsterdam. In the former place tents were set up to shelter them for a while. There already, partly due to much immoderation, partly as a result of incessant cold rains followed by a heat wave in Holland, the outbreak of dysentery and acute fevers became apparent so that nearly 80 small children died within a short time. Then the people were assigned to the ships, over 200 in some, in others over 300, and in some 400 or more. They were packed so tightly that overall at least one third more were loaded than what is considered normal.”

Of the more than 6000 people who departed from Rotterdam and Amsterdam that year, only about 2/3 made it to the New World, and of these, many arrived ill and malnourished. This is not surprising since keeping an overcrowded ship’s population supplied with drinkable water and edible food for the entire journey was a daunting task. Ships’ owners began to advertise based on the quality of their rations. A typical fare for that period was advertised to include:

“five dayes a Weak, Hash one pound a day for every Person, also one pound bread, one english quarter beere & one quarter Water for every Person; two dayes in each Weak Fish and butter with bread;further bread and chease and other conveniences thereto belonging every day & that the said Master shall allow said Passengers convenient firering every day if Wind and Weather does permit it.”

The reality, as evidenced by diary entries and the many deaths, was often quite different. It is estimated that 300 died in ports of departure or clearance, 1500 on the way and nearly 500 were lost at sea. The Dufford family were among the more fortunate, even though it is thought that the family might have lost one or more members during the trip. Walter Goodman, the captain of the Robert & Alice, reported:

“On the 4th of July last I sailed out of Dover in England and arrived here on this river on the 9th of September with crew and passengers in good health but on the way I had many sick people, yet, since not more than 18 died, we lost by far the least of all the ships arrived to-date. We were the third ship to arrive. I sailed in company with four of the skippers who together had 425 deaths, one had 140, one 115, one 90, and one 80, The two captains Stedman have not yet arrived and I do not doubt that I shall be cleared for departure before they arrive since I begin loading tomorrow. I have disposed of all my passengers except for 20 families.”

The Robert & Alice was the fourth ship of the season to reach Philadelphia that year, arriving in Philadelphia on Sept 11, 1738 with 320 passengers. 38 of these eventually became some of the first settlers of “Long Valley” as it was called by the Indians. A group of Indians, sent by an earlier settler, guided the new settlers from Philadelphia to Long Valley.

Long Valley or German Valley

Long Valley is located in what is now Washington Township, in Morris County, New Jersey. In later times, this area became known as “Dutch Valley” or “German Valley”.  However, in response to anti-German sentiments in the wake of WWI, the name was changed back to Long Valley.

Johannes Wilhelm Welsh and Samuel Swackhammer had had settled in the area around 1730, and then written to friends in the Netherlands, asking them to join them. Much of the land in the valley was leased around 1747, including the Budd and Scott tracts, visible on the map of the early landowners from the late 1770’s shown here (click for larger version).

Highlighted in green is one of the early plots of 200 acres, first leased to Jacob Dufford (spelled Tefort and Teford in the lease) in Dufford property in Long Valley1747 Lease1746 for 96 years. However, it is likely that this plot was originally settled by Jacob’s father, Philip, Jr., 8 years earlier, and that Jacob and also his brothers and sisters, including Adam, lived here those first few years. Philip had died in 1767, and Jacob probably predeceased him, so that the name on the map by 1777 is that of Jacob’s son Stephen. The plot of Matthias Dufford, another of Jacob’s sons and nephew of Adam, can also be seen, highlighted in orange. In the text of the lease we can read that the payment for the lease was to be three Spanish pistols. Some tracts changed hands many times and often no rent was paid due to disputes. This construction proved unworkable over time, as many of the original owners moved west but refused to give up their rights. Due to these disputes, many of the lessees refused to improve the land and eventually commissioners were appointed in 1844 to redivide the land, settle payments and issue definite deeds.

However, long before this time, Adam Dufford had moved to Pennsylvania. By 1749, Philip and Jacob are listed as “Subscribers to Weygand’s Call”, for the second pastor of the local Lutheran church, but no other sons are named. According the “The early Germans of New Jersey: their history, churches, and genealogies”, he was found in records for Tewksbury Township, slightly SW of Long Valley, in 1758, and by 1771, he is listed in Easton, Pennsylvania church records, where he died in the winter of 1778 – 1779.

Sarah DuffordSeveral of his sons and grandsons, including (another) Philip Jr. and his wife Elizabeth Gruver, moved to Butler County, Pennsylvania where many of their descendants are still found. See Descendants of Johann Philipp Dufford for more information. Philip Jr. and Elizabeth, with their children including daughter Sarah, arrived in the Butler area from Luzerne in about 1838. Sarah (original left, enhanced right), who was born in 1836, married Peter W. Thomas in 1859. They settled near Petersville, Connoquenessing Township, on part of the farm owned by her parents, and remained married for over 50 years, raising a total of 8 children, including our ancestor Victor F. Thomas.




Burgert, Annette K., Eighteenth Century Emigrants from the Northern Alsace to America. Camden, ME: Picton Press, 1992
Chambers, Theodore Frelinghuysen. The early Germans of New Jersey: their history, churches, and genealogies. German Valley, N.J. : T.F. Chambers, 1895
Franke, Daniel P. 2017. , Part 1, Chapter 3: Robert Ufford, Earl of Suffolk and the Limits of Chivalry in Edward III’s England. Leiden, NL: BRILL.
Langensoultzbach – Registres Paroissiaux (Avant 1793) – Paroisse protestante (Avant 1793) – Registre de baptêmes mariages sépultures 1689-1748 – 3 E 259/2 , Archives départementales du Bas-Rhin
The History of the Zion Lutheran Church, 1982
Linden, David van der. 2016. Experiencing Exile: Huguenot Refugees in the Dutch Republic, 1680–1700. Routledge.
“Robert de Ufford, First Earl of Suffolk (1298-1369) [English History: Hundred Years’ War].” n.d. Accessed September 30, 2020. http://www.luminarium.org/encyclopedia/uffordsuffolk1.htm.
Wust, Klaus. 1984. “Feeding The Palatines: Shipboard Diet in the Eighteenth Century.” Society for the History of Germans in Maryland, 1984.
Wust, Klaus. 1986. “The Emigration Season Of 1738 — Year Of The Destroying Angel.” Society for the History of Germans in Maryland, 1986.

Langensoultzbach in 2020


Will of Johan Philip Tufford (Dufford) of Roxbury Twsp., Morris Co. 15 Feb. 1769: “to grandson, Jurrey Staffey Tufford, and my 2 sons, George and Adam, each 5 shillings. Wife, Catrena, rest of my estate, and, after her death, to go to my daughter, Mary Magdilen. Executors – my wife and Stuffey Derurger.” 1769, Jan. 18. Inventory, L67.7.6



Comments are closed.