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Izak Loftus

Origins of Loftus in South Africa

I read your page on the Loftus family with great interest. Here are some of the findings of the research a fellow family member (Dr Eastwood Thomas Loftus) and myself undertook in South Africa five years ago.

1) The first Loftus in South Africa was Thomas Loftus, born 3/7/1797 in Salsford, United Kingdom. He came to South Africa circa 1820, and received a farm, Dassenberg, approximately 30 km north of Cape Town, near the town of Malmesbury.

He married a local girl, Jacoba Christina van der Westhuizen, on 17/2/1822. They had one son, Thomas Petrus, born on 27/7/1827. He married Rachael Maria Magdalena de Villiers and they had eleven children (10 sons and one daughter). His fourth son, my great grandfather, was named Isaak Adriaan Johannes and therefore my son (born 4/4/94) is the sixth generation born in SA, and the fifth Izak (the spelling became “modernised” with my grandfather's birth) Adriaan Johannes Loftus.

We are a relative small family with approximately 200 members. Most are Afrikaans-speaking and practice a variety of professions.

2) Something about my family. My late father married Maria Helena Marsofina Bruwer on 24/12/1955 and they had two daughters and one son. My two elder sisters, Johanna Hendrika (b 2/1/1958) and Jessie Aletta (b 9/2/1959), are both teachers in the Eastern Cape.

I am the fourth Izak A J and was born 4/10/1960 in Mossel Bay. I am a pathologist (Histopathologist and Forensic Pathologist) in private practice in Somerset West, 50 km south east of Cape Town. My wife, Christine (b 3/7/1960 - by the way I did not marry her only because she shares my great-great-great grandfather's birthday) is also a medical doctor. We have two children, a daughter Marguerite (b 13/4/1989) and the abovementioned Izak.

3) It appears if there is a active debate on the origin of the Loftus family. Here are some remarks which I hope will further stimulate discussion.

a) Loftus means (a)lofthouse, i.e. some-one who lives in the attic of a house. The Lofthouse family is therefore related by name, and from your web pages it also appears that the Nordic surname Lofthus has the same meaning.

b) There is a small little town called Loftus on the east coast of Britain, near Whitby. After which Loftus was it named? I believe it was Sir Adam Loftus or one of the other aristocrats (see below).

c) Burke's Peerage and Baronetage provides interesting information on the more “aristocratic” part of our family. The lineage of the Marquess of Ely starts in the sixteenth century with Edward Loftus of Swineshead in the parish of Coverham, Yorkshire. His son was Adam Loftus, who became Archbishop of Armagh (1567), and later (1573) Dublin and in 1578 he was constituted Lord High Chancellor of Ireland. He was buried in the Loftus vault (currently on your webpages).

The current Marquess of Ely is Sir Charles John Tottenham. The reason for the change in surname, was due to the fact that Henry, Earl of Ely and 4th Viscount Loftus (b 18/11/1709) had no children, and at his demise his estates and titles devolved upon the son of his sister, the Right Hon. Charles Tottenham. He assumed the surname and arms of Loftus in 1783. The coat of arms of the Marquess of Ely is therefore still that of the Loftus family. It is illustrated in Burke's, and is roughly the same as that currently on the webpages. The crest is similar, but the supporters are two eagles.

The mottoes are, (under the arms) “Prends moi tel que je suis” which means “Take me such as I am”, and over the crest “Loyal a mort” which translates into “Faithful unto death”.

d) I also have a cutting from the Weekly Irish Times of Saturday, September 3rd, 1938. In this it is said that this family descends from the great Irish race of O'Carroll Ely, who were Princes of Ely O'Carroll, one of whom, Eile righ dhearg (The Red King), had the territories in Leinster called Duiche Eiligh; that is the Estates of Ely. [Can the Irish make sense of these names?]

Finally, if any Loftus plans to visit South Africa, please feel free to let me now in advance. Maybe I can meet you and show you some real South African hospitality! My telehone numbers are: 021-851 3935 (home) or 021-852 3144 (work); my fax is 021-851 6240; my e-mail


Izak Loftus

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izak_loftus.txt · Last modified: 2017/03/14 23:00 by loftus49