This is a brief history of my branch of the Luff family

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The Luff family from Farnham - a brief history

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Michael John Luff - the author of a history of the Luff family. If after reading this history you have any comments, questions or additions to the records, please e-mail me by clicking on the button below.

My research into the Luff family shows that there was quite a large family of Luff's possibly also known as Luffe (this might have been the result of writing styles in the 17th & 18th centuries), that lived and worked in Surrey and Sussex.

I have traced a John Luff who's son, also called John Luff, was baptised in the St Andrew's Parish Church, Farnham in 1544. However I have been unable to prove his link with my family from Farnham.

Records show that in the 1774 Parliamentary Elections there were 5 landowners who voted in Sussex, these were:
Andrew Luff - Freeholder at Stedham
Richard Luff - Freeholder at Easebourne
William Luff - Freeholder at Fernhurst
William Luff - Freeholder at Harting
Richard Luff - Freeholder at Cocking

Voting in Surrey were:
William Luff - Freeholder at Witley
Thomas Luff - Freeholder at Egham (Chobham Parish)

From the point of my ancestors, I'm uncertain of the family link before circa 1700. I have evidence of two John Luff's who could have been the father of Stephen Luff, see next paragraph.
One John Luff was baptised in Farnham on 21st March, 1723 (his father was William Luff from Wrecclesham, near Farnham).
The other John Luff was baptised in Farnham on 28th April, 1728 (his father was John Luff from Farnham). I have assumed the latter to be my ancestor mainly on the basis of the date that the
children of John Luff were born. As this John Luff's father was named John I have assumed he was probably born circa 1700.

I have proof in this history that Stephen Luff (1761 - 1851) is my Great, Great, Great, Great, Grandfather. Stephen Luff's father was John Luff. I have evidence of the death of a John Luff
who was buried in Farnham on 25th March, 1769. I cannot confirm which of the above John Luffs' this refers to, if either.

Stephen Luff married twice, my direct line of ancestors are offspring with his first wife Mary Mayne.

During research into my family history I have been very surprised by the educational standards of some of my ancestors. The one that particularily stands out is my 4 times Great Grandmother Mary Mayne
who, at the time of her marriage to Stephen Luff in 1784, was able to write her own name. Mary Mayne's father, George Mayne was also literate, this is confirmed by his marriage record of 1762
where he signs his name on the document. George Mayne is my 5 times Great Grandfather. Looking further back into the history of the Mayne family it seems that they were probably landowning farmers.
My research has shown that education before the 19th century, for the average working class family, was mainly provided by Charity Schools. Clearly Mary was encouraged to read and write by her parents,
this could have been through Sunday School teaching. Her husband Stephen Luff was illiterate at the time of his marriage to Mary Mayne in 1784.

There seems to have been a desire by Stephen and Mary to ensure their sons obtained a knowledge of reading and writing. There is clear evidence that their sons William, Stephen and Richard were literate,
as they all signed their names on their marriage documents. Furthermore Stephen and Richard moved to Guernsey in the early 1800's and became very successful business men, leading to a dynasty of Luff's in Guernsey.
Their offspring included a master woodcarver, whose work is still exhibited in St Pauls Cathedral, and a Fellow of the Entomological Society, who wrote books on the scientific study of insects.
However it is evident that neither Jane nor Lucy, the two daughters of Stephen and Mary were literate at the time of their marriages.

Moving forward a generation to my 3 times Grandparents, William and Jane (nee Gadd) Luff, both were literate as evidenced by their marriage records. Their four children were also literate, again evidenced by their marriage records.
These children, born between 1809 and 1818, probably benefited from the formation of the National Society for promoting the education of the poor in 1811.

Moving forward a further generation to my Great Great Grandparents James and Lucy (nee Mouldy) Luff, I know James was literate, but I'm not sure about his wife Lucy. However the situation changed quite dramatcally with their children.
Their first four children, William, Jane, James (my Great Grandfather) and Frederick, were all illiterate, (they were born between 1856 and 1865). None of them could write their names on their marriage documents.
They were probably backward, also they were all found guilty, by Magistrates in Farnham, of theft in their adolescent years. There is also a story in the family that their mother, Lucy, was a poacher and of gipsy stock.
James and Lucy's later children Mary Ann (my Great Grandmother) and George Frederick were both literate and were exemplary citizens.

So it is a mystery to understand why some of my very early ancestors were educated, at a time when education was not available to the majority of people, and yet when education was more available to most people some of my more recent ancestors remained illiterate. A cause might have been an economic depression in the mid 1860's in Surrey.

With regards to Stephen Luff's second marriage to Sarah Patrick, in 1803, neither Stephen nor Sarah could write their names. However, their sons George Luff (1813 - 1880) and Charles Luff (1815 - 1879), were able to write their names at the time of their marriages. I'm unable to confirm the literacy of the other children at the present time.

Although I have included records from 1544, my family history can only be verified from John Luff born circa 1700, to my father Frederick George Luff who died in March 2011.

I have also researched my extended family and have included information of ancestors that have died. I have information of living members but for security reasons have not included them on this web page. To access these brief histories please click on the required name. The documents are pdf files.

My direct family line:
  • Vragen van de Nederlandse gebruikers van het internet die geinteresseerd zijn in familiegeschiedenissen
  • My Family Tree Circa 1700 - 2011

    Use this drop down list to select a history of the ancestor you wish see. When selected double click on name to show a history.

    Many of the Luff Family were baptised, married and buried, in St Andrew's Church, Farnham. Click on the "St Andrew's Church, Farnham" tab below for a picture of the Church.
    St Andrew's Church, Farnham

    JOHN LUFF 1728 - 1769

    John Luff was baptised in St Andrew's Church, Farnham on 28th April 1728.
    He married, wife's name unknown, and they had the following children, the baptisms of which are recorded in the Farnham Parish Records.
    To see a brief history of the other children of John Luff (and siblings of Stephen Luff), please click on required name. John Luff died and was buried in St Andrews Church, Farnham on 25.2.1769.
    A woman, who was buried in St Andrews Church on 13th February 1785, was recorded in the Parish Records as being "the wife of John Luff".

  • A history of John Luff 1728 - 1769: see below for children

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    STEPHEN LUFF 1761 - 1851

    Stephen Luff was baptised on 2nd May 1761 (he puts his birth place as Aldershot in the 1841 census). He married Mary Mayne on 28th December 1784. Mary Mayne was baptised on 7th August 1762 and died on 10th November, 1802.
    The marriage produced the following recorded children. The baptisms of which are recorded in the Farnham Parish Records.
    To see a history of the Stephen Luff and Mary Mayne and their children, please click on appropriate name.

  • A history of Stephen Luff 1761 - 1851: see below for children
  • A history of Mary Mayne (first wife of Stephen Luff) 1762 - 1802